Explore Your Options

“How was school today?”

“Well, I found out that I’m not pursuing the career that I want. So that’s great.”

Career Exploration

Surprisingly, the course, Liberal Arts at Work: A Professionalization Workshop, is not a requirement class. This is an elective. But honestly, everyone in any major should be taking this class. My advisor suggested this class to me because 1) I needed an elective and 2) I seemed pretty vague as to what I wanted to be doing after I graduated. She said that this class is a great way to find other options or opportunities to help prepare for my life outside of college. I am so glad I took her advice. Even though this was a two week course, I learned so much about myself and what I wanted to pursue than in all of my years in college.

Here’s what we had to do in this class:

  • Choose three different career paths
  • Complete two career assessments: StrengthsQuest and TypeFocus
  • Create a “Master Résumé,” three résumés, and three cover letters
  • Upload/ Update your LinkedIn account
  • Conduct an Informational Interview and a Career Presentation
  • In-class Mock Interview

The three different career paths is the assignment that really opened my eyes. I have worked in retail at American Eagle for over four years. Despite all of my work experience, I had never considered a career in retail. Once I realized that I didn’t have to be a store manager to work in retail, this was the moment that I was not prepared for.

Dora did not prepare me for this situation.

Everyone knows about the adorable, lovable, animated, children’s character: Dora the Explorer. If not, I would definitely rate it the top five cartoons to watch in your lifetime. Basically, the premise of the show surrounds itself around a Dora, her friend Boots, the monkey, and they go on adventures together. Dora uses her map in each episode to help her on her explorations. It’s a kids show, but it teaches that you should take your journey one step at a time, and each location gets you closer and closer to your ideal destination.

Just like Dora, I focused on one journey and I tried to take it one step at a time. After high school, I applied for college, decided on an English major, took the required courses, and soon I will graduate and pursue a career in Publishing/ Editing. That’s right Publishing/ Editing. No specific job title. Just a vague career.

Then, at the beginning of class, we were told to find two other career paths that were completely different from each other. I was so fixated on completing my next step I didn’t realize that maybe this wasn’t the career that I was meant to have. After looking at my life, the most experience I have is retail. I am about to finish my senior year in college and my degree doesn’t match this type of career. Now what?

If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you’re left.

My Girl Scout troop leader always said this to us everytime we had an event or a meeting, but it has always been in my head throughout high school and college. I realize that my English degree may not be a requirement on internships or jobs in retail, but I wouldn’t change it if I had to do it all over again. I enjoyed my English classes. I wouldn’t want to deprive myself of all of the information I had absorbed from all of my courses. I do, however, that I would have realized that a career in retail was an option  for me. I probably would have taken some business classes or maybe had a Business minor. But, courses don’t make up your passion for the career you want. It helps, but an interviewer doesn’t completely reject you because you decided to study Shakespeare. College is meant for you to find out who you want to be. Make mistakes. Take a different path. You don’t have to have the perfect plan to decide what you want to be. Some people are late bloomers. But that shouldn’t stop you from demanding the life you really want. Never settle. Explore your options.




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