Professionalization and Revelation

College is an interesting period in life that can be both wonderful and terrifying. It’s a lot like driving down a dark road. You keep going straight because it seems like the best option when in fact you might find an even better destination at the next turn. This professional training course has been the map that showed me all the possible wonderful destinations.

My prior knowledge of career hunting before this class was limited. I knew that when I graduated I would then proceed to look for a job, but I didn’t know how that process worked. My advisor showed me the professionalization workshop near the end of my junior year. When I head there was a class for liberal arts majors that focuses on professionalism and finding careers I signed up immediately. I’m happy to say it really paid off. Now I have a better grip on my strengths and I know what careers fit my skills and interests. This type of professional training should be classified as a highly valuable course, and it should be something every student considers taking. While there are a portion of people who know exactly what they intend to do, most students and graduates get lost in the nebulous art of job searching and networking. If you were to ask a person who’s never played chess to sit down and try to win, they would be to scared that they couldn’t move the pieces. Teaching them the rules and some basic strategies would be a good start. It goes with that classic phrase “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

From the beginning of the course when I began reading the books I immediately began to feel at ease. “Great Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors” gave me sense of all the different directions I can go with my career. “Smart Moves for Liberal Arts Grads” provided excellent stories that helped me to visualize how someone might move through their career and then this particular book:

you-majored-in-what
Katharine Brooks, You Majored in What? Mapping your Path from Chaos to Career

 

“You Majored in What” completely reinvigorated my confidence in the studies I have chosen. I’m keeping these books for future use. Which is something I can’t say for most of the textbooks I’ve had to buy thus far.

I can’t remember the last time I was asked to draw anything in class for an assignment. Probably not since elementary school. Doing it as a college senior as a way of realizing my interests and strengths was incredibly invigorating. The wandering map assignment as seen here:

tw_wandering_map_mockup
“Connecting the Dots”

The wandering map assignment is a must for just about anyone in liberal arts major. With so many different options out their knowing your interests is a surprisingly helpful prerequisite in the process of career exploration.

In the reading I picked up on a lot of valuable information about not just how to write cover letters and résumés, but also how to “wander” and know that having a major in English opens the doors to a lot of different opportunities for various different careers. As we explored the different career options I found myself draw to many different writing careers in entertainment as well as careers in public relations. I love NASA. It’s history, the philosophy behind exploration, the way they name all the different shuttles and satellites, and the many science fiction stories they’ve inspired from “2001: A Space Odyssey” to “The Martian.” Realizing I could have a career working there in public relations was a huge moment for me. One of the most recent examples of Public Relations work are these beautiful posters:

Space posters
NASA’s Grand Space Tour

NASA dares people to imagine with these posters. Imagine a future where we have colonized the universe and theirs a grand tour that takes you to anywhere you want to go in our solar system. It inspires people to take a closer look at NASA’s projects. Creative works like these are what make me excited about the prospects of being part of a public relations team. In the assignments that asked us to explore the careers I found even more stories on public relations that were inspiring. In “Each Paper Panda Represents One Of Only 1,600 Left In The Wild” we can see how the World Wildlife Fund took a fun project and turned into a way to inform the public about the very low number of panda’s left in the wild. While researching this career, I learned that it requires an ability to be flexible and adapt to the needs of the client or organization. A public relations committee may also have to plan to travel long distances for events. For this particular career it would probably be smart to have experience working in a creative team and exploring the possibility of studying abroad to expand ones world views.

 

As a senior I can certainly say that the professionalization workshop has been one of my most enlightening classes and I would urge everyone in a liberal arts field to find the time to take it. Had I taken it earlier I would have found a way to brand myself earlier so that I could begin networking with people in my area and discovering all the unique local job opportunities in the area. Now with with the information I have at my disposal I feel more confident in writing résumé’s that show off my abilities and going into job interviews to make my case to be hired.

 

 

 

 

 

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