3 Things I Wish I Knew About Career Exploration as an Undergrad—Words from a 2019 Grad

Hello! My name is Elena and I graduated from BC this past May. I worked at the Career Center as a Peer Career Coach starting the spring of my junior year and I have returned post-grad to work as a Graduate Assistant while I pursue my master’s degree in higher education. As I have started to navigate life post-grad (it does go on!), I have been given the time and opportunity to reflect on what I wish I knew about careers and career exploration before I started working at the Career Center. Here are some tips that I hope will benefit you on your career journey.

You can visit the Career Center before you have any idea about your career path.

For most of my undergraduate career, I thought that the Career Center was the place you turned to for help only once you had figured it all out and set your sights on a specific career path. This idea stemmed from my personal belief that career exploration wasn’t a “real” or valuable part of the career search process. It was only after I started working at the Career Center that I realized exploration is seen as the biggest piece of the career search puzzle, a journey that takes time, effort, and is often revisited over the course of one’s life. Exploration is such a critical aspect of the career search process that there are specific coaches dedicated to these conversation. You can make an appointment with them at anytime. Turn to these coaches to start a conversation, regardless of how developed or certain your ideas on career are.

Don’t stress too much about your major.

As a communication major, I spent my freshman and sophomore years thinking that I would go into public relations, journalism, or broadcasting, because those were the job options I heard most often associated with my major. When I later realized that I had no interest in these career paths, I started to, for lack of better words, freak out. This was until I learned from conversations with alum through programming at the Career Center that your major is not do-or-die when it comes to the job search. People with all sorts of majors do all kinds of jobs, and the beauty of a liberal arts education is that you gain transferable knowledge and experience in a variety of subject areas. Use the resources on the Career Center’s website for ideas on potential career paths.

Informational interviews are key.

It’s not possible to have personal, firsthand experience at every job in every field you may be interested in. It is possible to speak to the people who do! An “informational interview” is just a scary name for a conversation, and reframing it in this way made it a lot easier for me to seek these conversations out. People love to talk about themselves and their stories. What they share about their experiences in a certain position or industry can help inform the decisions you make for your own career path. There are many ways to find opportunities for quick meeting over coffee or chat on the phone, but you can head to Eagle Exchange to speak specifically with BC alum about their journeys.

—By Elena Akins, MCAS ’19, LSOEHD ’21, Graduate Assistant

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