I remember being a college senior winding down my last first semester and ready for finals to be over and go on winter break, sound familiar? Senioritis kicked in early and I just wanted to sprint to the finish line. My brain could not tolerate any more information; even the lyrics to the new Katy Perry song were postponed until after finals. I’m not sure why I was excited for finals to be over though, because that meant I had 3 weeks ONLY focused on basketball. I can’t even call it basketball; it really was more of a track meet twice a day, everyday. I’m getting nauseous just writing about that time in my life it was so nerve-wracking.
Anyhow, it was about that time when I truly started thinking about what I wanted to do with my career. It was the first time when I thought my mom was brilliant for telling me, “Nicole, you should be a doctor.” Which was about 3.5 years too late to know she was brilliant.
I said to my mom when I was in high school, “That’s way too much school mom.”
She replied with, “You should be a nurse then Nicole, the medical field is a great area.”
I finally contended, “Mom, science just isn’t for me. I never liked it in grade school and I skated by on extra credit and charm when it came to biology, chemistry, and physics. The answer is no.”
Decision-making is inevitable
My initial reasoning for becoming a business major was to “keep my options open” aka a phrase that really meant I was too scared to close any doors and truly commit to a career path (which is entirely acceptable). But, after 3.5 years of business courses under my belt, I was still at a loss. I didn’t want to make a decision at 18 and little did I know it just meant I had to then make a decision at 22.
I do understand that even in the classic professions such as law and medicine it is still a requirement to pick a specialty or specific type of practice, however, the track is fairly straightforward. Winter break arrived and I now had this degree that, “I could do almost anything with” and it was a terrible feeling. I could do anything but what in the world was the actual something?
It’s that time of year when college seniors and those in grad school can’t wait to write that last essay or answer that last question. It’s stressful and exhausting. We’ve all been there. And the “fun” part is that once you finish those meaningless tests? There are bigger decisions waiting for you on the horizon, which also causes stress and exhaustion. Yikes.
Don’t confine your career to your degree
Starting my career as a recruiter the over-used phrase, “no one ever sets out to be a recruiter” resonates clearly. When I was 10 years old did I dream of recruiting? No, I dreamed of being recruited to play professional softball or something close to that.
But, as a recruiter I’ve learned that even with how specialized degrees are presently it’s not the end of your story. As a naïve, green recruiter I was surprised that an Art History major was a Senior Director of Marketing at a Top 25 Pharmaceutical company or that a Business Administration major would go on to get their doctorate in Physical Therapy right after undergrad.
Your degree doesn’t define you.
Constantly build your resume
In high school you built your resume to get accepted into college. In college you built your resume to get into grad school or snag that first job. Hate to break it to the young folks but resume building never ends. You’re always adding and subtracting.
There’s always a next, especially in this job market. I’m not saying that you’re always building your resume to leave your company. But, you are constantly building your resume because it puts you in control of your career path. With that control comes decision-making but, knowing you’re accountable for building your skills and knowledge base is a competitive edge needed in today’s job market.
Lifelong learners are not only the individuals who decide to add every acronym known to human kind at the end of their name with a degree or certification from A-Z. But, also those individuals who find it important to consistently build on their accomplishments. If you ever feel like you’ve arrived that’s where you’ll stay.