When I left my small, rural town for college,
I knew it was going to be a change and I was thrilled.

The main issues on my mind after my parents dropped me off were meeting new people, going to parties, and setting up my room.

Life after college was the furthest issue from my mind…that was 4 years away and I was convinced I’d have plenty of time to figure it out. However, by the time Thanksgiving arrived people were asking me “what are you going to major in?” and “what are you going to do when you finish college?” Ugh. I had barely begun my undergraduate experience and was already feeling pressure to make some big career decision. So I did.

In high school, somebody once told me that they thought I would be good in public relations. So, I “decided” to major in communications and told everyone that I was going to work in public relations (specifically, crisis communications).

I hadn’t spent any time thinking about if that was a good career move for me…hadn’t researched what crisis communications meant…and didn’t know anybody who worked in the field so I had very little frame of reference. However, I could get my former teachers, grandparents, and other inquiring minds off my back because I had made a decision.

In essence, I left my future to chance. I spun the career wheel and public relations was where I landed. Instead of being an informed career searcher, I selected a major and career without any real knowledge of the field.

By the time I reached my senior year, I was already in the midst of a career change without ever working full-time in public relations. Experience with a couple of internships helped me determine that PR was not a good fit for me. But my work in the career center sparked enthusiasm. I was excited about the work the career advisors did and how they helped students navigate the career exploration process.

Here it is, many years later and I still work in a field where I enjoy coming to work every day and am challenged by my job here at Career and Employment Services. I often joke with students that part of the reason I got into this field was to help students avoid many of the mistakes I made when I was an undergrad. I invite you all to take advantage of the resources available to you throughout your time at Puget Sound. You will make many mini-career decisions along the way which will lead you to a meaningful career after college. It starts with a single step.

For a first step, visit the CES table at Log Jam’s Activities Fair on Friday, September 3. Get to know the CES team and the resources available to you.

© 2010 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound
Photo: Kris Hay