Let's Talk Careers
Oh the topic of careers. It is scary, annoying, and fun. It is a topic that some know plenty about and that others know but a little. I myself am not an expert on any topic regarding careers but it is something I have been around for over three years. Three years. I have been a student employee at my universities Career Center for about 1,278 days (or so). This is a number that will continue to grow seeing that I never want to leave. This is basically a second home to me.
I love working along counselors and staff who have decided to stay in a community, like our university, and help students start some type of career path. It is true that they will not walk with you the entire way down but they will guide you (figuratively). Let me start off by giving you a little background as to what a career center is and does.
A career center, as taken by my universities mission statement, is a place that educates and engages students and alumni to realize their career potential. They do this by "providing students and alumni with the tools and support necessary to successfully attain their career development goals", "collaborating with the campus community as an indispensable partner in the education and development of students" and by "providing exceptional customer service to employers while recognizing individual recruiting needs". In other words, it is a place for students to ask any questions regarding careers. This can be a question about resumes, internships, interviews, graduate school, continuing higher education, job searching, and so on. It is a place for students to seek career related advice and it is pretty cool.
Over the years I have been made aware of a couple of things I think are important and that I want to share with you.
1. It is NEVER too early to start talking careers
The biggest misconception I believe students have is that there is a set time to start thinking about their potential career(s). This is not correct. It is never too early to start a discussion about this. This does not have to be a discussion with someone at your closest career center. This is a discussion that can happen with your sibling or parent or neighbor or friend. This is a discussion that can happen with yourself.
Start talking or researching different careers you like. These careers do not always have to be things you like. You have not tried them yet, so be adventurous. Google careers you would never imagine doing. You might like them later on. This leads me to my second topic which is..
2. Think about more than one career
During the time I have worked at the career center I have seen hundreds of students come in and ask about one career and one career only. It is amazing to know that some individuals are so set-forth as to what they want to do in life. That is great and something one should be proud of. But just like there are students who are aware of what they want to do, there are also individuals who believe they are only capable of doing one thing because it is what they know or want without truly being passionate about it. If that is something you truly want, please know that you are able but also be aware that there may be things in this world you love more than what you want. Do not be afraid to explore and to go out of your comfort zone. It is scary and weird but worth it. This is not only in terms of careers but life.
3. It is okay to not know
Being around individuals who know what they want can be very intimating. I say this from experience - it is okay not to know what you want to do. It is actually more than okay. It is very likely, very very likely, that you will change majors, jobs, and career paths in your life. Life is very long and if you are fortunate enough to live as many years as it offers, you will come across change more than you think and that is okay.
There will always be resources you can use to help you, resources like the career center or a center equivalent to that. There will also be people along the way to help. You can obtain support from family and friends. You can obtain support from me even. If there is ever a question you have, go on over to the right hand upper corner of this page and click "Say Hello" and well, say hello.
4. Ask loads and loads of questions
Over these three years I have seen familiar faces walk in and out of our center. I see a lot of new faces as well. Those familiar and new faces are the faces of individuals who continually and initially come in and ask questions. Asking questions is so important. I am sure you have heard this before but there is no such thing as a dumb or stupid question. Ask questions. Be curious. Explore different majors, programs, and careers. Learn as much information as you can on your known and go to someone for guidance after. Take a step forward and continue to do that down the road.
Life is full of surprises. Different things you thought you didn't like might end up being something you love. I never knew marketing, social media, and advertising would be something I liked let alone try to obtain as a career. I was so very wrong. Now after three years of being around counselors and helping students and employers, I will be doing the same but through a marketing position this Fall (in the same center) (I told you I would never leave). Exciting things are happening. Take that step, create your own path.