It’s not a secret that my current place of employment is a place of political turmoil. No matter what your involvement is with our community, it’s hard to deny that much. But, there is a lot to be said about what isn’t being focused upon by the media or the most vocal protestors. It is the staff who come to work every day and put the students first, or as close to first that can possibly be managed. In my office, we push forward, we work late, we develop ourselves and our schedules to meet the student need and I love every minute of the successes and challenges that this may present.
During my interview for this position to mentor college students with their early career development, I began to realize that there is a trait of a ‘creative professional’ that I hadn’t yet explored. The need to follow ‘passions.’ A need that I have followed without thought since my sophomore year in undergrad when I made the choice to leave my studies to become a primary school teacher in order to major in Art.
It is the recent realization of this subconscious relationship that has allowed me to relax and enjoy my developing career. From my choice to study art, to becoming a graphic designer at a newspaper / museum while working freelance, followed by the decision and completion of my master’s degree that gave me the chance to intern internationally, which gave me the confidence to reach out to a nonprofit organization where I became the executive director at the same time I developed and founded my publishing company and now, with the most recent decision, to work for a small liberal arts college in Career Services so that I could … mentor students.
Just as I would have if I had never changed my degree from education.
And back in the city where I earned that bachelor’s degree.
But without the last 9 to 10 years, following my passions, I wouldn’t be the mentor that I am now. That is only too clear for anyone looking from the outside in, but just coming to light as I have begun to see myself in this professional context. A realization that has only occurred after multiple conversations with my students, their fears, and their need to understand the full future of their career before leaving college.
That is not the objective, and it shouldn’t be their objective. Currently, I believe the focus should on self-awareness of their professional status, while finding the best personal method to explore and search for opportunities of interest.
Careers will last and grow and change over a very long period of time.
One day, one week, one year, five years, a decade.
That shouldn’t be rushed, or pre-determined.
Without a doubt, I am in the right place in my life. My decisions – both the successes and failures – have led me to a position that rarely feels like a day of ‘work,’ and that allows me to continuously exercise my intrinsic values on a professional level. It only took about 650 one-on-one student appointments to realize that this is where I am currently meant to be.
Even during this time of uncertainty in our small community.