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How to Prepare for Your Career While Being a Student

I sat in the local coffeehouse sipping a venti café Americano and staring at my computer. I tried not to cry and debated running outside to my car to call my mother and then cry.

My mom is my best friend, and she would have listened patiently to me inaudibly speak while I sobbed, as she has done on a few occasions.

This time it was a glimpse of what lies ahead that brought on the panic.

I graduate in less than three months, and as an assignment for a senior course, I had to make a list of 25 prospective jobs. What I found was less than encouraging.

I am a communications major. I have two concentrations, one in journalism and the other in public relations. Despite all of my schooling, I was heartbroken to see some of the job qualifications and how I did not fully meet them.

This is not the fault of the communications department. The faculty does an excellent job of preparing us for our future with the appropriate curriculum, and they truly care about their students. This one was because of my own shortcomings.

The communications industry is rapidly changing and the professional that enters the job ring today must be a master of all.

I should have taken extra courses. I should have taken an extra design course, learned more about video production and editing and done more to work on my page design skills.

I should have done more things outside of class, too. I should have learned more about cameras and photography, networked more, gotten an internship or two and been involved in more campus organizations. The mental list goes on.

I challenge you to think about your future and where you want to be every day. Start by researching the want ads of your dream job, and plan accordingly. If you have to take an extra course or two, go ahead. Do your future self a favor, and go for it. Think about the long-term result as opposed to the short-term situation. Do the uncomfortable to push yourself and grow.

Make it a point to stop by the Career Planning and Development Office on the second floor of the University Center to get professional guidance. The office has been open for close to a year and can help you with your resume and cover letter, practice interviewing, find internships and the perfect job, and more.

“Our goal is making sure that students have these competencies that all employers are seeking and that they are also ready to pursue the job market confidently and be successful throughout their careers,” said Kamie Mantooth, CPAD assistant director.

The good news is, if you are nearing graduation and are panicking like myself, all hope is not lost. As soon as you recognize your weaknesses, you can work to improve them. Learn as much as you can on your own and recognize your own value. And should you be viewed as the perfect candidate for a position, it is not uncommon for employers to teach you things on the job. Post-graduation internships are common as well and often turn into a job.

Whatever you decide to do, do not give up. Nothing worth having ever comes easily.


Photo courtesy of Pexels.


Kristina is a News Editorial and Public Relations major from the Nashville area who also serves as Executive Editor of The Pacer. She's a procrastinating workaholic who likes to travel and cheer on the Preds.
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