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What was the most helpful part of high school or college that helped you transition into your career?

How was your experience from school going to work? How did you get the career and was it rough or hard making this transition? career

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Subject: Career question for you

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Doug’s Answer

Hi there,
Working in an academic setting like high school or college, can be quite a bit different than working in real-world setting on your first job. Much of the classes and theory you're being taught is helping to train the way you think, so it will be up to you to apply those abstract concepts to a real situation once you're employed. If you're like most, you'll find that a lot of the content you learned in school doesn't apply to your actual day-to-day work in your career - but don't get the wrong idea - all those classes, homework, exams, projects, papers, groups, office hours, late nights, blood, sweat, and tears is all worthwhile! Through all these experiences, college prepares your mind to THINK like a professional. But regardless of what you study, how much you study, or what grades you achieve, actual on-the-job work must be experienced in order to be successful. So to answer your question, I strongly recommend you seek opportunities for internships or co-op assignments while you are in school. Don't wait until you've graduated. Find those internship opportunities NOW, figure out a way to make them work while you're in school, and you'll be glad you did! In my own experience, I was lucky enough to attend a college with a strong co-op program, allowing students to spend a semester or two working at a real company in a field related to their major. As an Engineering major, my co-op internship experience during school provided invaluable real-world experience, both from a technical standpoint (I got to use software and programming languages for real business value instead of just homework) and a professional standpoint (learning how to attend meetings, provide status reports, interact with co-workers, work on long-term assignments). Wherever you get an internship, don't worry about whether you want to work there long term after graduating (although if you do well, expect them to recruit you!). Instead, use the time to develop your personal workplace skills, which will then make you much more savvy when returning to school the next semester. Plus having an internship on your resume before getting your college degree will put you way ahead of many other students looking for jobs!

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Ken’s Answer

Hi Avery!


The most helpful thing in the transition process was the career exposure programming that I started to participate in in high school and continued in college.


My high school counselor was very helpful in helping me locate and participate in coop, intern, shadowing, and volunteer programs in my career area, so that I could actually see and feel what people were doing and learn how they got there and see what it felt like to be there. Also, the head of alumni relations at my high school helped me locate graduates of my school who studied and worked in my career area, so could learn about what they were doing.


After I got into college, I worked with my adviser to identify and participate in coop, intern, shadowing, and volunteer programs. I also worked with the head of alumni relations to get to know graduates in my field, as I found out the 80% of people who find jobs find them through networking with people with whom they have a natural connection, such as graduating from the same college.


Here are some tips on networking:
http://www.wikihow.com/Network
https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations


Here is a good site for locating internships:
http://www.fastweb.com/


Best of luck! Please keep me posted. I would like to follow your progress.

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Jonathan’s Answer

When I entered college, I had no idea what type of work I wanted to do. As a freshman you have the opportunity to explore courses that offer basic ideas for different fields. I took a course in economics for the first time, and realized that it clicked, and I understood the concepts very well. I decided to take more advanced courses in economics, and while it was certainly more difficult, it also became more interesting. If you can find course that leads to a field that you enjoy, especially if it takes you out of your current comfort zone, then that can be a major factor in deciding what type of work you want to do.
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Nicole’s Answer

Hi avery R. I see that you posted this question a little while ago so I hope my answer to you (or others who may read this response) is still helpful.

The most helpful things that I took from high school and college into my career were my study habits and my attention to detail. I was very excited about the major I chose, I loved what I was learning, I had great professors and I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted my post-college life to look like, once I got my first job. All of these things helped me to focus on doing my very best in each class. The focus that I put on doing my best in each class, translated to my efforts to do my best for each task I was giving once I started to work in my career. So in this regard, the transition wasn't hard.

In more general terms, what can be hard, from time to time, is completing some of the the tasks! But with each completion, the next task can become a little less hard :) and the confidence level can grow a little as well.

I hope you find this answer helpful. Best of luck to you!
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