Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Firsthand Experience

by Amanda Padden

Over the last two weeks the guidance department brought in eleven different professionals to talk with sophomores about their current job and the path they took to get there. Sophomores had the opportunity to hear from the following professionals:
  • ESPN Talent Producer
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • Teacher
  • Sports Announcer
  • Photographer 
  • Lawyer
  • Psychologist
  • Military Recruiter
  • Marketing Manager
  • Operations Manager with an MBA
  • Engineer
The professionals discussed how there are many different types of jobs within any specific field. For example, the marketing manager discussed how there are people on her team responsible for writing content for websites or brochures, while others are “idea people” who come up with what they want to communicate to an audience, while others are graphic designers, and others are responsible for analyzing and determining whether or not certain marketing materials increased business as a result. All of these jobs are very different, but all are considered marketing. Our department works with many students who are interested in majoring in Business, Engineering or Nursing, but oftentimes students don’t know what specific jobs are available within those fields and what the day to day requirements are. After listening to these presenters, students had a better idea of what to expect for salary, hours, and what strengths and skills needed in order to be successful in different careers.

It was interesting to see that many of the career speakers didn’t end up with the job they planned to have when they were in high school. In fact, many of them experienced a major career shift along the way. I think this helped our students understand that it’s okay to change their mind about their career. You can to go back to law school in your 40's. You can plan to be a high school gym teacher, but end up as a psychologist after randomly taking an Abnormal Psychology course in college. You can be a behavior therapist for children with disabilities then end up working in sales. These professionals taught students to pay attention to what they like or don't like and to be open to trying new things.

Our department collected feedback directly from the students who attended these sessions. Here are some of their responses:

“It is good to have contacts, and take a leap of faith with contacting others and applying for different jobs”

“That it is ok to not have a plan for what you want to do right away and if you come across an open opportunity, take it because you might end up liking it”

“It gave me an idea of when I need to start and what I need to think about when it comes to college and my career”

“I loved to hear the hours and the classes I will take and have in the future”

“I have always thought about a field in Psychology and this definitely helped me gain a better perspective and opened me up the the different fields, what you may have to study, and how challenging and dedicated the years in school are”

“I learned about one of my career options. It was very helpful to hear from someone with firsthand experience”

These career sessions seemed to shift the focus from “getting into college” to thinking about a career and lifestyle that might be a good fit. The guidance department looks forward to offering more opportunities like this in the future to all grades at MHS.

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