Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Overcome job uncertainty by keeping an open mind

Jane Hao

Some students appreciate and seek comfort in knowing exactly how and what they want to pursue after graduation. For others, committing to a strict career path so early is a terrifying and difficult thought. But there’s also a middle ground for those who may know their strengths, interests and values but may not know where to go from there.

Regardless of where we fall, and even though the unknown is scary, it is extremely important that we do not close ourselves off to the opportunities or chances that open our minds to new possibilities. Students should prioritize experience in different fields throughout their time at UT to make well-informed career decisions.  

Avianne Ernest, assistant director at the Moody College Career Center, shared her understanding of successful students in varying stages of career development. 

“In my experience, students who I’ve seen be the most successful in the communication field are curious, endlessly curious and endlessly flexible,” Ernest said. “We all sit somewhere. While we can flex where we fit to pivot and try new things, curiosity and flexibility is going to bode well for a lot of our communication students.”

Students often begin their college lives itching for exposure to new things. However, that passion can quickly switch to an anxious fear of meeting a specific timeline or gaining internship experience as early as possible.

Ernest discussed her advice for students who feel pressured to build a network for career experience, as well as the pressure of feeling behind.

“My biggest encouragement would be to not compare yourself to other students and to run your own race. Make sure that in every experience … you do at least one thing that you are proud of while you were there,” Ernest said. “Strategize exploration. (By doing so) you’re honoring yourself and your interests and taking the best advantage you can of the opportunities on campus.”

Many students hope for a career journey that excites and inspires them on a day-to-day basis. Susan Nam, the internships and career experiences student program coordinator at Texas Career Engagement, explained how students can build their network and gain experience.

“Everyone has a career journey,” Nam said. “Try not to expect that journey to be linear because I would say 99.999% of the time, it’s not. There’s always going to be opportunities that pop up that you’re not aware of.”  

Internships are not the only avenue for students to grow their skills and learn about which careers they do or do not enjoy. 

“A really great example … is getting an online certificate in a skill that you really want to grow in,” Nam said. “We have Coursera, which is our micro-credentialing program. Students can earn a certificate in a specific skill … and put that on their resume, and that’s a way to gain career experience.” 

UT offers students several opportunities to immerse themselves in real-world career experiences. For example, career coaches — who are more than willing to assist students with how their interests translate to various careers — are incredibly valuable resources that students should take advantage of.  

When it comes to job uncertainty, it is completely okay to fear the unknown. Not pushing ourselves to embrace what inspires us places us at a disadvantage in the first place. Instead, keep an open mind, and remain curious and eager to get involved with student career coaching and assistance on campus.

Gannon is a journalism freshman from Houston, Texas.

More to Discover