By: Connor Mabon – Opinions Editor
Something hit me this weekend as I traveled six hours across Interstate-70 back to Dayton from St. Louis with a caravan of fellow Flyers after an annual fraternity trip.
As we networked with several marketing and public relations firms throughout the gateway city, I began to see a common thread develop. This healthy exchange of questions, thoughts and ideas with people holding various job titles outlined a concrete way to cut through all the internalized doubt and hesitation about how to deal with your future in the workplace. Find a direction, run with it and don’t look back with regret.
In all of life’s mysterious happenings we may find ourselves lost in a list of decisions, especially if you’re a graduating senior. This sense of unpredictability and indecisiveness can become a distraction. It can make you stray from the things you love doing most. But no matter what happens in life, the direction you discover and choose to take will expand your frontiers like the one the pioneers mapped out as they passed through St. Louis to the far reaches of the west coast during America’s early history.
Just like when we travel on a highway, in life we experience twists and turns, exits and detours, all taking us to our desired location, though we may feel like we took a wrong turn and got lost on the way. The common thread that I’ve seen spun by professionals and by everyday people who have been there and done that, is to see the jobs you hold throughout your life as the definition of your direction chosen. Everything compliments everything. Even the detours that add stress to our lives can still reveal hidden gems of wisdom and experience.
You may not fully realize what exactly this first job or internship has to do with your ultimate dream. Just know there will be elements of that experience that will apply down the road. Based on my understanding from what the professionals we networked with said, express a willingness to learn and a degree of humbleness to your employers and it will not only propel you through the ranks, but also provide a great sense of personal satisfaction.
The people you interact with in the workplace and out in the real world become mentors. They become individuals who inspire. The domino effect of this inspiration is an educational experience unlike the decade and some odd years you spent in the conventional schooling system. The lessons we learn from mentors become a part of our story. Their words engrave timeless moments in our journey and become the driving force taking us toward our desired direction.
No matter how random your early experiences may be with jobs and internships, it’s all about taking that leap forward without hesitation, getting your hands dirty with something unfamiliar, making mistakes, making the rebound and coming out on top with an experience that can uplift others.
It will require us to talk less and listen more, which I have found has many benefits including learning practical life skills like cooking food for myself or improving my academic abilities. Picking that single direction will jump start your way to a level of personal satisfaction that is immeasurable on any scale. Education is inspiration. Inspiration drives humanity to do amazing things.
Be an individual that inspires.