Since high school, the stress of choosing a career has been daunting. How am I supposed to know what I’ll invest one-third of my life doing? How can I make sure it’ll be something I’m passionate about waking up to each morning, that highlights my strengths, challenges me, and grants me the financial stability to lead a comfortable life?
Growing up, my single mom of three was always exhausted by her 30+ years as an elementary school teacher. Watching her become increasingly depleted by her job stimulated my own fear of getting “stuck” in a job. This, combined with a host of other pressures in life that come with being an undergrad. For example, the fact that attending college is huge financial and time investment. I feel this overarching and omnipresent anxiety to make these years count and prepare myself to be a competent individual in an extremely competitive job market.
As a student, I hear others on a clear path toward a “dream job,” taking all the necessary courses since their first quarter here at Davis. This wasn’t the case for me. I completed mostly GE’s in my first year, and still today contemplate double majoring, minoring, double minoring, and the general direction of my life.
However, what’s helped me a lot is advice I got from my sister. She said to just keep trying things: that every new class and experience - whether it be a job, internship, study-abroad, student organization - is a new “tool” for my “toolbox of life.” It’s cheesy, but it really resonated with me. Have I discovered and settled on a career? Not exactly. But, I am learning more about myself, developing my skills, and making new connections...and that’s what career development is all about!
Brianna Tuomi, 2nd Year Psychology A.B.
Volunteer, Health Education and Promotion
Peer Advisor, College of Letters and Science
For many of us, college is often a preparation for a future career. With the uncertainty of what my future career would be, I stepped on the UC Davis campus as a Biological Sciences major –something I had been interested in since childhood. However, with so many fascinating subareas in biology I could not decide which area I should focus on. Besides the diversity in biology, there are also many career paths such as health-related professions, researches, working for biotech companies, etc.
To figure out what my dream career would be, I started to look for resources and try out different things. First, I took the BIS 5 seminar where some researchers and professors came to the class and talked about how they started their career. This class also taught me how to write emails to professors to ask for participation in their labs. With this experience, I started to look for opportunities on the department website as well as the job link. Unfortunately, many of my emails did not receive reply. Even when I received one response, I could not get the position because I did not have the work-study fund. All of my failures made me feel frustrated but I decided not to stop trying. I used UC Davis HRI to find some health-related internships and volunteer opportunities and started as a volunteer at the Medical Center in Sacramento. During my experience volunteering, I found happiness working in a hospital but still wanted to keep my opportunities open. I wanted to gather the experience of working in labs or biotech companies before I made my final decision.
Sometimes, it is the unpredictability of our future that makes college fearful but exciting. I’ve come to realize that even though ultimately, I do not know what I want to do, I should focus my energy on the present and work hard doing things I like to do. I believe my hard work will eventually pay off and it will provide me with many opportunities in the future.
Anonymous, UC Davis student