As college students, we extensively prepare for our futures—raising our sails, gripping the wheel, pushing off the dock and venturing into the vast sea of our future. We don’t quite know what lies ahead, but we do have our sights set on one thing: finding our own treasure chest of joy, otherwise known as our dream job. We begin our search with internships and test out
the waters. But how do we find that one perfect match, our true passion, our calling? Well, we all embark on different journeys, but six key components can help all twenty-somethings set sail and strike gold.
- Explore your Interests/Passions
We’ve all heard the saying “work hard to play hard,” but what if you could do both simultaneously? Try interning with an organization of which you’re already apart (like your school, church, gym, part-time job, country club, favorite charity, food bank, community theatre, etc.) and see if it strikes your fancy. You might just fall in love with working behind-the-scenes and discover you were standing on your treasure all along.
- Try new things with an open heart and mind
Perhaps you yearn for something new, uncharted waters in which you may sink or swim—and why not with a short-term internship! You won’t have enough time to sink if you tried. 😉 Branch out by working in a completely unfamiliar environment and appease that adventurous appetite of yours. Maybe you’ll shift your sails in a new direction. Maybe you’ll return to your previous route. Regardless, you can look forward to attaining a wealth of self-knowledge and a priceless confidence boost.
- Monitor your energy and attitude at work
Find yourself whining and groaning as you get ready for work every morning? Bashing your forehead on the desk in boredom? Counting the hours ‘til you go home? Or do you smile through your lunch break, leave work excited for tomorrow, and incessantly relay stories to friends? Every day presents ups and downs, but when measured in the long term, these habits reveal a great deal about our happiness and mental wellbeing. Monitor yourself every couple of hours—discover trends in your emotions, likes/dislikes, thoughts and habits in a diary or Word Document. This way, you can define your nonnegotiable needs for your fulltime job.
- Set up informational interviews
Take a walk in someone else’s shoes—meet with professionals who work in your dream job/industry! Prepare questions and jot down notes as they give you an exclusive one-on-one. They can tell you all about their college experiences, job preparation, current job responsibilities, daily workload, work/life balance and more. Perhaps they already found the treasure you seek and could drape you in their pearls of wisdom.
- Look forward to the future
No two paths identically match, no one reaches his or her treasure on one defined route and no one knows what waves or tides may pull your search in a new direction. Instead of feeling fearful, embrace your courage and college diploma and embark on the adventure of a lifetime—the adventure of your lifetime. You may find your treasure or your treasure may find you. Either way, you’re in for a great ride and a tremendous prize. Happy hunting!
Written by: Laura Hepp
Laura Hepp is a rising junior mass communication major with minors in advertising and theatre performance studies. She proudly serves as Vice President of Professional Development for PRSSA-UD. Her other roles include Blue Hen Ambassador for UD’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and active volunteer at The Journey church. With a passion for musical theatre, she performs with Harrington Theatre Arts Company and multiple community theaters in the Tri-State and Lancaster County areas.