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Career baby steps

Julie Gray | Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I have many students who come into my office with a sense of panic wondering what they are going to do after college and if they are truly expected to know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives. While there is not always a definitive answer to these questions, we are here to help guide you through some of those tough questions and help you to understand your skills, personality, values and strengths and how they can translate to success upon graduation from Notre Dame.

There is a common misconception among students that the Career Center is geared toward a specific major or college or year. But whether you know exactly what you want to do after graduation or have no idea what direction to pursue, we have valuable resources available to help you. It really is about you and what you need when you come visit us. We want students to feel comfortable coming to us with any of their career concerns. In fact, there are no questions that are too stupid or unimportant or irrelevant to ask. Sometimes the questions are as easy as “Will you look at my resume?” At other times the questions aren’t quite so black and white and require longer, more in-depth appointments. Sometimes the questions just need to be asked and heard. More times than not, we simply provide some basic guidelines and encouragement. It truly doesn’t matter what you major in or if you are a senior and have never been to the Career Center – if you need help, we hope to be there for you.

There are many ways to be involved with the Career Center from making an hour-long appointment with one of our career counselors, attending one of our many workshops, participating in one or more of our career exploration programs, to just following us on Twitter and Facebook to receive job-seeking tips and event updates. As in all things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it.

Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers – this time in your life is about exploring. Some might know what they want between the ages of 18 and 22, but most don’t. Even that first job, service experience or walk into your first class at graduate school is just the beginning of many career decisions that you will be making in your life. Rarely is this ever final and you always learn from each and every experience – both the positive and not-so-positive experiences.

However, no matter where you are in your college career when you are reading this, the time to start is now. Over and over I hear students say they wished they would have come into the Career Center sooner to start exploring their options. We are not expecting you to have your future planned out before coming to the Career Center; we are here to offer guidance, support and encouragement to help you through your transition to life outside of Notre Dame.

That being said, you have to take the first step. You can find us on the second floor of Flanner Hall. In fact, we have walk-in hours everyday from 1-4:45 p.m. If you prefer an appointment just give us a call at (574) 631-5200. We have students trained to answer your questions and to set you up with the right career counselor.

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The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.