Finding My Way Through Planned Happenstance

By James Christensen, CPDC Career Ambassador

Exactly one year ago, I felt lost. I wasn’t sure what major I wanted to study, I had no job, no professional experience, and I felt overwhelmed by trying to figure out how I was going to achieve my image of “the perfect life” that I had inside of my head. It truly was a stressful start to my first year of college.

Fast-forward a year, and today I am starting my second year as an Electrical Engineering student here at the University of Utah. I recently married my best friend, and I have a wonderful job working as a Career Ambassador here at the Career and Professional Development Center.

Back when I started my first year, I figured the best way that I could find some direction was to attend my first-year orientation. The orientation went well and I learned many important things about the University, but I still had a lot of questions. That is, until I took matters into my own hands. I started talking with some of the faculty present, and by happenstance, I learned about an engineering major that helped specifically lead me to study Electrical Engineering.

By chance, I found myself in an information session with the Career and Professional Development Center. At the time, I was hoping to learn more about on-campus jobs that I could pursue, along with get help writing my resume and such. However, at the first part of the meeting, they mentioned that they had a Career Ambassador program in which they hired students to join their team. My interest was piqued, and I stayed after the information session to talk with the presenters to ask them about this opportunity.

They shared a lot of great information with me, and even offered to bring me to their office so I could chat with some of their other staff about the program and my own career goals. They were extremely helpful, and I learned about a lot of resources that helped me end up settling on the major that I’m doing today. I talked with the head of the Career Ambassador program and learned how I could apply. After some spit and shoeshine on my own resume, I submitted my application, and they then hired me to be a new Career Ambassador!

During my time as a Career Ambassador over the last year, I’ve met a lot of really great employers who are hiring in the very field that I’m studying. I’ve even gotten the chance to talk one-on-one with employers about the positions they offer. Though I am still nervous about what the future holds for me, I know that if I keep putting myself out there like I did during orientation, and proactively engage in conversations with people, I’ll find my way to my dream career in no time. You never know whom you might meet and what opportunities you can discover, if you take the time to start a conversation or ask someone a question!