Confused College Student – Where do I go next?

I’m reaching the end of my long journey through higher education and an attempt at completing a B.A. in a subject that actually interests me. It took many failed semesters, some hard life lessons, and a great deal of humility to finally discover the major that called to me: Sociology. I thought once I found the right major and was ready to really buckle down and conquer my education, that through my courses I’d figure out what I wanted to do. Well, after this semester, I have a mere 3 courses to complete and discovered that I’m still just as lost, if not more, when it comes to possible career options. I’m not even sure what is out there and available to me! Of course, I’m figuring out that this is greatly my own fault. Unfortunately, in sociology, a broad range of topics and issues appeal to me and choosing the one that seems the most worthy to champion or pursue is more difficulty to figure out then I had previously hoped. I see internships everywhere and I always think “I’m not ready for that!” or “I’ve never been taught to do that!” and I forget the important fact: THAT’S WHAT INTERNSHIPS ARE FOR! So finally sitting down with one of my favorite professors in one of my favorite fields (globalization), she told me some of the most valuable things that I have probably learned in school thus far! For one, she shared an internship opportunity with us for propublica.org in New York (it’s even paid!) Well it sounded amazing! I looked it up and it was for reporting for a public interest journal. Something about this internship called out for me! I see many appealing internships, but for some reason I wanted this one badly. Perhaps it’s because of past dreams to write or be a journalist or the mere fact that it’s an publicly informed journal that doesn’t spit out typical, mass-media lies. Either way I wanted it, even though it seems so far from my reach (and training!) Well, I decided I was going to ask her how to go about it and how to even go about choosing a career path in general! After speaking with her for the first time about it (I plan on having more regular meetings with her because her advice is structured for the real world!), but I decided I wanted to impart this wisdom with others while sharing my experience as I begin to discover what I really want to do in life and the ways in which I was going to get to that point.

Her first tidbit of advice was to center my career choice around my desired lifestyle. I had never thought about that! Did I want an office, 9-5 job, or would I rather travel and be free to share my own ideas and interpretations with others? What are my interests? How much money do I need to live comfortably? She also mentioned taking into account Cooley’s Looking Glass Self; basically, how do I want others to perceive me? What would I be proud to announce to others that I do for a living? With her interest in technology as well she informed me that with the internet you can simply create things on your own. This got me thinking that perhaps instead of fighting the things I care about, that I should look for ways to innovate solutions instead. Also, she imparted wisdom to me about how the educational system we are raised in and told to participate in if we would like to achieve great things in life, actually stifles creativity. Pointing out this article to me (“Will Dropouts Save America?”) further supported her point. This was fantastic to hear, especially from a professor, because I find myself resenting the homework I must complete since it takes up valuable time that I could use to educate myself on things that matter more to me. Another piece of information that I took from her was the fact that “when the marginalized participate in something (such as education), then it becomes de-legitimized.” This rings true when you realize more and more that the working world cares more about your network and what you do outside of a piece of paper that says you completed a program at a university. With all of this information I left our meeting feeling hopeful and excited for the future, and especially my journey through discovering what I truly want to do.

In regards to the specific journalist internship that I am currently striving for, she explained to me the importance of branding yourself and finding a niche or area of expertise. What do I know more about that average people? What area do I want to be an expert in? These same questions come up when I began my research on how to start up a blog. Well here will be my first formal attempt at a real blog, which I will use to find my niche and brand myself, all while sharing the experience with you. I will work on short pieces and articles that will hopefully enlighten me about the subjects that I would like to write about and explore further. Please feel free to critique and question, for it will only help me grow!

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About Shelby Rusu

I am a current student and activist, but currently trying to break into the world of journalism and global justice. I care deeply about issues pertaining to human rights, global justice, environmental concerns, women's rights, minority rights, education, public policy, technology, alternative energy, politics, and just about anything involving inequalities of any sort. I have a big heart and try to dream big.
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