During Student Employment Month, we celebrate both the impact of student staff members on their workplaces, and also the benefits of early work experience on our students.

For many Logger students, part of their Puget Sound journey occurs in on-campus and other part-time jobs. They build skills—gaining confidence as young professionals—and draw connections between their job, academic work, and potential career paths.

In celebration of Student Employment Month, President Isiaah Crawford shares a bit about his own early work experience and offers advice to Logger students about how to identify their unique path to the heights.

What was your first (or an early) job or experience that made an impact on you?  How did it direct your career path?

My first substantive job was as a “technician” in a psychiatric hospital that specialized in the treatment of the seriously mental ill.  Although it was very challenging, I was fascinated by the skilled physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses who worked with our patients.

My job was primarily to make sure the residents of the facility did not hurt themselves and engage them in activities to promote their cognition (e.g., playing cards, checkers or chess with them) or motor functioning (e.g., table tennis, pool, or volleyball). On occasion, I was able to sit in on group therapy sessions and do rounds with the medical team to learn about the diagnoses the patients carried and courses of treatment that were prescribed to address them.

I learned a great deal about psychopathology (really up close!) and the combined, sometimes miraculous, effectiveness of psychotherapy and psychotropic medication. That experience helped to solidify my desire to become a psychologist.

What advice do you have for Logger students about how to pursue their passion?

I think it is important to determine how you know you have found your passion. For me, it was coming to realize that when I delved into a field of study, and a set of activities associated with it, and it made me feel happy and content; then I knew I was on to something. Studying psychology, conducting behavioral science research and treating clients/patients did that for me (in addition to teaching).

So, my advice is to explore your academic, scholarly and social interests, and be mindful of what brings you contentment, satisfaction and/or joy. When those emotions surface tied to an activity or interest you are pursuing, then your passion is revealing itself to you. I encourage you to open your heart and mind to it and embrace it!

Photo Credit | Ross Mulhausen
© 2018 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound