Did You Have an Internship You Didn’t Like? Part 2

By: Lexi

Since my former internship was not what I was expecting (check out part 1), it made me question myself and frankly, it made me freaked out about my future. Once I realized this, I decided to start focusing even more on the work that my supervisors performed. Their position was a career that I could potentially be doing in the future, so I watched and learned from them. But I quickly found out that being at the bottom of the totem pole was not the only reason I did not enjoy my internship. I recognized that the whole job in this area of work (the local government) is not a profession that I would like to do for the rest of my life.


Now I really started to stress out. What was I going to do with my life now? Do I have to completely change my major? Am I going to be in college forever? Should I take more exploration classes? Should I take a semester off? Who should I talk to and where should I go from here? I did not want to be going to school, spending a lot of money and time on a career path that I would not enjoy. All of these questions and more were running through my head, all the time.

From there, I started with two people for advice, my mother and Career and Internship Services (two of the best places for career advice, in my opinion). Career and Internship Services suggested that I talk to professors in my areas of study and also conduct informational interviews with professionals in areas that I am thinking about. This was the biggest advice I took into consideration. I started with my professors, they helped me stay calm about my studies and reassured me that I was not wasting my time. I then moved on to seeking out professionals in areas I was interested in. I even went to the job fair, just to ask employers if I could conduct informational interviews or job shadow with their employees. From following these steps and being open to new opportunities and change, I got a job out of it! I actually get to be in the field that I am strongly considering, to work along with professionals who could potentially be me one day.

From talking to all of these professors and professionals, it helped me change my attitude around from wanting to give up, to having hope that I was not wasting my time. From here on out, I am going to keep exploring these different careers and next semester I will take the last liberal education requirements that I need to. I did this so I am not taking all of my specific major classes, in case I do end up changing it. In the end, I did bounce back from my bad internship experience that made me question my major, it helped me learn so much and grow as a professional. I am still not completely sure what I will do in the future, but I will get there and if you are going through the same thing, you will too!

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Photo by: Unsplash | Amanda Sandlin

What Can I do with a GIS Degree?

By: Lexi

When it comes to college, figuring out what to major or minor in can be one of the most challenging parts, but crucial. Personally, I was fortunate enough to decide what I wanted to major and minor in early on in my college career. It is important to consider all academic majors to find out what you are really interested in. If you have ever thought about GIS as a degree or if you have never even heard of it, read below! I’ll give you some useful information when considering GIS as a degree from what it is, who uses it, what careers you could pursue, colleges with GIS degrees and other websites to check out! For my minor, GIS is what I chose. GIS can be a major, minor or a certificate program, at UMD at least. Look at the links below to see other colleges that offer this degree as well!

Degree in GIS

What is GIS?

Geographic information systems or science (GIS) allows us to visualize, analyze, capture, store, manage, and interpret spatial data to understand relationships or trends. GIS needs the hardware, the software, people, and organization to work. It is commonly used to make layers of data showing different variables of a location to inform decision makers and the public. One of the key components it does is help create maps, as well as charts, globes, and reports. Maps help analyze almost anything. Many of these topics can be analyzed through writing also, but showing them through maps can be worth a thousand words, without using any words. Imagine that your company wanted to figure out the best place to locate a new store that would bring in the most buyers, GIS can help with that. Imagine the DNR needs help looking at the land cover and soils beneath it, GIS can help with that. Imagine that one wanted to look at the similarities between low housing areas and crime rates, GIS can help with that. Imagine that one wanted to look at the lack of doctors and areas with high levels of HIV/AIDS, GIS can help with that. Imagine that a disaster strikes and the city needs to figure out how and where to evacuate citizens to, GIS can help with that. GIS is an extremely useful tool for many disciplines and there are a huge array of job paths to take in it. Whatever your interests are, one could pretty much find a career path in GIS that follows those interests.

Who uses GIS?

GIS is a benefit for many organizations and companies. It helps cut costs, improves decision making and communication for anyone who uses it. GIS is implemented in areas of business, natural resources, public safety, transportation, utilities, communication, education, health, human services, economics, real estate, sustainable development, and map/data production. The government is a large user of GIS. Many federal agencies use it, such as, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Weather Service, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and many more.

What are career titles in GIS?

Here are some careers that one with a major/minor/certificate in GIS could pursue:

LIDAR Engineer, GIS Coordinator, Software Engineer, Applications Programmer, GIS Software Product Specialist, Cartographer, Industry Marketing Manager, Mapping/Survey Technician, GIS Instructor, Database and System Integrator, Computer Mapping Technician, Planner, GIS Data Manager, GIS Sales Manager and many more.

Many students who graduated with this degree from UMD have become successful in this field. Some career examples that students from UMD have gone to work for are the Minnesota DNR, Regional planning divisions, GIS consulting firms and engineering firms. If you want more information on what UMD has to offer with GIS, visit their website here.

Considering a degree in GIS?

Numerous colleges and universities have this program. Check out these websites for a list of colleges that offer a GIS education:

Looking for other resources?

Check out these websites for more information about GIS:

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Photo Source: Unsplash | John-Mark Kuznietsov