How My Life Plan Changed in College
Goals and aspirations are a topic that is often discussed throughout each year of college. From the Freshman that enrolled without any idea of where they are going to the Junior that decides to completely change the course of their degree plan. We can all relate to students that change their life goals throughout college. The college experience is one that unveils the true identity of the student. We learn about the world and how to interact with one another. We learn how to communicate and how to become a cultivated society through higher education. There is a stigma that students face when they do not have clearly set goals for their life. This is partially due to forgetting how it feels to be that student in college. Students should be encouraged to set goals but also supported when those goals change. We are unable to predict the opportunities that may arise during college or the defining moment when the student realizes their calling within a degree field.
After years in the workforce and a history in the medical field, I decided to return to college to pursue Emergency Management. The title and flexibility of the positions available were the perfect fit for my adventurous personality. I spent an entire summer researching my options for the best college degree and implemented a straight and narrow path of how I would achieve each goal. It was not until my last semester of being a sophomore that I realized my life was not following my plan. This domino effect was the direct result of my volunteer service to other students. I never swayed from my life goal until I fell in love with being a career coach for students. My passion began with a free Facebook page and a handful of students that were nontraditional. One by one, I would coach them on how to make their own plans and seek financial aid to support those plans. The need to help students collect their thoughts and formulate a plan was not being met. I decided to rise to the call but did not anticipate the need to be so strong. In less than 6 months, I have successfully created a student alliance with over 200 nontraditional students. I have become a career coach and public speaker through volunteering my time to help them. I have earned awards and speaking engagements across our region to bring awareness to what nontraditional students need inside and outside of the classroom.
This transition was hard for me to accept because the entire time I have been in college; everyone knew that I was on the path of Emergency Management. In the midst of working towards that goal, I stumbled across an emergency that involved students, just like me. I also realized that my self-worth was not determined by my degree nor the college I chose to attend. This revelation came to me after being offered a paid salary to work with a local school. The qualifications for this position included a graduate degree. What they saw in me that day, surpassed the basic requirements to fill the position. I realized that I became this person naturally and that my changing my degree would only enhance my natural talents. I desire to encourage other students to realize that who they think they are supposed to be may change during their college experience.
The best way to find out who you truly are is through public service to others. There are volunteers that work in the background for nearly every degree field. If I would have only served in organizations such as the American Red Cross or Americorps, I would have missed the opportunity to find my calling in life. Emergency Management will always be a part of me but now I can work in a nontraditional environment. Utilize volunteer opportunities to explore the different career fields. Learn how to use your passions to empower others and don’t be afraid of change. You never know what your future holds. Who you are today may not be the person you are tomorrow.