Guest Opinion: Your Career Journey Starts Here

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Abu Asib

The Legacy Bridge at the University of Utah Campus. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

Starting college comes with a whirlwind of complex emotions — excitement, happiness and sometimes fear. These are all very normal feelings for someone going through such an important transition. You have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to be here. What now? As you are finalizing your class schedule, looking for housing, figuring out finances and trying to navigate a myriad of campus resources, you may be uncertain about where this all will take you.

“Am I going to make it? Which route will bring me to a successful career?” These are questions we often hear in the Career & Professional Development Center. College is a big investment, and it makes sense that you want to make the most out of it to prepare yourself for a meaningful and successful future.

Having had career conversations with University of Utah students for almost 90 years, we have discovered the five most common career myths among undergraduate students. We want you to leave them behind as you begin your new and exciting journey.

I Need to Decide Right Now What I Want to Do and Stick with That Plan.

Almost one-third of all students change their major at least once within three years. About one in ten students change their major more than once. In the modern world, where we are predicted to change our careers (not just jobs, but industries seven to ten times, it is normal to not know what you want to do right now. You have plenty of time ahead of you to decide what field you want to explore.

My Major Determines the Rest of My Career.

Major does not equal career. Although select careers such as engineering and nursing require specific bachelor’s degrees, most careers hire students from a wide variety of majors because all majors teach many of the most desired and transferable skills that recruiters are looking for when they hire.

Others Know What’s Best for Me.

Only you can be responsible for the career choices you make. Career coaches, family, friends and others can help guide you, but they do not know you as well as you know yourself, and their advice cannot substitute for your own exploration, information gathering and decision-making about your career journey.

There Is a Single “Right” Career for Everyone.

We tend to find ourselves searching for that one thing to become our life passion and career. In reality, people change jobs and careers a lot more frequently than we think. Generally, we tend to have more than one passion or interest that can lead to a number of “right” careers.

I Will Get My Dream Job Right after I Graduate.

There is no such thing as a perfect job. It might take some time to get to where you want to be, and that is okay. Be intentional about the experiences you choose and the responsibilities you add to your plate. Be patient and take your time — you will get there!

No one ever truly “arrives” at a career destination; rather, your career is a lifelong process, with pit stops along the way. To make this journey meaningful and enjoyable, it is important to discover your true values, strengths and interests. The Career & Professional Development Center can help you explore yourself through career coaching conversations, personality assessments and career exploration classes.

A big part of what we do is bringing you the opportunities that will help you better understand yourself and the professional world — we invite top national and local employers to campus for information sessions, workshops and large-scale recruiting events. We believe that networking and internships are great ways to experience the diverse world of work and acquire useful professional skills. We also provide assistance in internship and job searching, interview preparation and salary negotiation. You can come to us with any career-related question.

The ups and downs of your college experience — the mistakes, the pivots, the moments of success and the times of uncertainty — all make up your unique career journey. We are hoping that Career & Professional Development Center will become a part of it. Welcome to the University of Utah!

 

— Olga Kingsbury, Career Coach for the Career & Professional Development Center

The Daily Utah Chronicle publishes guest op-eds written by faculty, elected officials, and other members of the public on topics relevant to students at the University of Utah. The Chronicle welcomes guest op-ed pitches here.