college is just a big party… right?

I’m switching gears today. I know I usually write about food and exercise and health, but I’m feeling adventurous today.

I started college with the goal of simply finding a school that was small enough to not eat me alive. I had a faint clue of what I wanted to go into- something in the teaching field. Math and science are FAR from my favorite things in the world. I can’t walk a straight line without running into something, including “somethings” that aren’t actually in my path. And a part-time job at an elementary school after school program left me knowing that it wouldn’t be in my best interest to be in the company of small children for that long. So that left: English.

I’m sure many of you wonder what life as a secondary education English teaching student is like. So I’ll tell you.

You read. And you write. And you read. And you write. And you read some more. And write some more. And so on.

It got old. I like reading stories about crimes and love and fluffy stuff. Not necessarily different styles of poems and stories that I have to think about for days in order to fully grasp what all the symbolism means. I mean, that’s fine once in awhile- but every day? Oy vey…

So my next thought, per Mom’s suggestion, was to enter Dietetics. I figured that I was an expert on food because I successfully lost and maintained a significant amount of weight. So how hard would this be… right?

When I chose to make this switch, my chemistry professor/academic advisor- who was well aware of my feelings about chemistry- asked if I understood what I was getting myself into. Dietetics leaves you with one credit short of a chemistry minor. ONE CREDIT. That means a LOT of science.
Oh joy.

So I transferred to UND to try my hand at this new challenge, telling myself that when I made it through school I could find a job that only included nutrition education- no research, no science, no clinical stuff. Just the “fun” lesson creation and delivery. HA.
I wish I could say that finding and obtaining your “dream job” was that easy. Especially as your first out-of-college opportunity. Sorry to burst your bubbles.

Anyway… I made it through school… many days were literally taken one hour at a time. From stressful test to stressful assignment, and the studying and lectures that were surely in another language due to the intensity of content. I think about it now and have no clue HOW I made it through. But I did.

I’ve written about this in the past, but in conversation with another recent college grad, this subject came up again. And I want to reiterate.

If you have an opportunity to do some job shadowing or interning or co-oping to really figure out what you’re getting yourself into… DO IT. It took me a year of college before I truly realized what dietetics was all about. And my advisor wasn’t lying when she said science. After all… it’s “the SCIENCE of food.”

I think there are a lot of college grads who wonder what in the heck they’ve gotten themselves into- but after it’s too late. You know, when you’re already tens of thousands of dollars in the hole and within reach of a diploma declaring that you’re somewhat of an expert at something. Too late for switching.

Take college seriously- even before you get there. I worked my butt off and still graduated with a massive debt, all the while wondering why I chose my major. I was lucky to land a job out of college that involved nutrition education, but now I’m happily working in a career COMPLETELY outside of what I went to school for. I still needed that continued education, but I’m doing more “learning on the job” this time around.

The Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals are currently working with the Center for Community Engagement and UND to form more internship and co-op opportunities in the Grand Cities area for those who are interested. Keep your eyes and ears open. These opportunities not only allow you to get a taste of what you might be doing outside of college, but they also help you to form some valuable networking with potential employers.

Do your research. Outside of the classroom, too. And be ready to work.

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Posted on April 18, 2012, in Occupational, Physical and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great post Stacey! It’s kind of the things you wish you could tell your 18 year old self!!

  2. I have to comment that even though you may think you know what you want to do, dabble! Dabbling allows you access to different things and people who may introduce you to a topic that you didn’t realize that oyu had a passion for.

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