ask veena things, round 2.

here we go with round 2 of ‘ask veena things’. i’m keeping it simple with the one question this week because it covers quite a lot.

we were such babies. little rock, arkansas. may 2013.

q: what advice do you have for second year grad students who are struggling to find direction for what’s next?

corrinne coming in with the hard hitters! i turned to some of my fellow clinton school grads to help me answer this one, and below is what i received back from them:

  • give yourself permission to make mistakes / changes. i thought my first job out of grad school would set my career path. lol no. also if you want to be in a specific city you gotta just make the move and then go from there. [km]
  • this was me, i wasn’t sure what my plan was a million miles down the road but i decided i would be open to the opportunities that presented themselves. so i applied to a variety of jobs in different states and received quite a few rejections. and finally ended up receiving an offer that paid less than i wanted it to but i figured it would be a great place to start and it was. [kb]
  • tougher during these times but attend [virtual] workshops, events, film screenings, etc. read. volunteer. have virtual coffee with people you think have interesting careers or life paths. just try to learn about what you like and think about what you might want to do and experience…in a way that will earn you a paycheck too 😉 [mc]
  • ‘i guess you’ve just gotta find something you love to do and then…do it for the rest of your life. for me, it’s going to rushmore’ … but for reals, my advice is to find an area / sector or even org one is interested in and find ways to get involved [volunteer, get to know the work / sector issues, the people, positions, etc] to try to assess if / how you would enjoy engaging in it in the future. ok to start small if you don’t know exactly what it is you want to do within the sector, in fact it’s a good way to get some insight! [am, my mentor, with some help from max fischer]
  • keep your mind and your options open. very rarely is your path linear, and the more open you are to a range of jobs and experiences, the more fruitful, purposeful, and – let’s face it – fun your journey will be. ask lots of questions. ask your friends, your mentors, the orgs you are interested in, professors, everyone. ask every question you have, no matter how small or insignificant you may think it is. and remember what professor mcmahon told me 19 years ago — your final grade in that class will not determine your final worth in life.

that’s it for this week! jeremy also asked me a great question but it is taking me a little longer to answer it so i am saving it for next week. stay tuned!


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