Self-Guidance: The Key to Success

By: Paying

All our lives, we have been constantly guided either by our parents, teachers, and/or society. It seems as though a good ⅕ of our lives were following what others have told us to do. As little five-year-olds, we have already started to be shaped to become successful and live a future with purpose. The question now is: what does it mean to actually be “successful” and how do we achieve that? 

When I first started my education in a head start program until the end of my 8th grade year, school was just a part of life and you don’t question it. When high school hit, the struggle of not knowing my strengths and interests complicated the vision that had been engraved in my head: graduate high school, attend college, finish in four years, and spend the rest of my life loving my career. I didn’t want to drop out of high school and disappoint my parents, I didn’t want to take a gap year after high school to figure life out, and I didn’t want to go into college not knowing what I’m there for. 

To answer my questions, I sought guidance from my Upward Bound advisors who emphasized the advantages of college. They reassured me that it’s okay to not know everything and that it was completely normal to feel the way I did. We researched colleges that could offer me what I would be interested in and would enjoy attending. Soon after, I officially declared that I would become a Bulldog at UMD in 2016. 

Image: Colored pencils in cup
Text: Every path you can take has its pros and cons, which varies person to person. The key is to believe in yourself and put in the effort to achieve your success.

After two years of my college life, I knew I had made the right choice to come in unsure because soon I realized how passionate I was in English related courses and declared as an English major. However, I didn’t know where to start because no one around me had a similar path of becoming an editor and once again I was lost. 

The career counselors at Career and Internship Services, along with my alumni friends, guided me through it as they provided stories of their own or others who have been in the same spot and the different paths they’ve taken. Although I was afraid to share my struggles of uncertainty, it definitely cleared my head and made me more confident in my future decisions and to this day I continue striving with the same confidence.

As my last year of education is wrapping up, I realized that soon I won’t have education to keep me busy anymore. Now I have to go out into the “real world” and make my own decisions for my own life, which is a very scary, yet exciting, thought. Throughout my life, I had asked for guidance from my family, my peers, and my academic mentors but now I’ve come to realize that I have started to guide myself. From asking for internships even if there aren’t any listed and becoming the interviewer rather than the interviewee to learn more about the career and/or organization. I am finally guiding myself to live the life I will enjoy and want.

I may have chosen to go through college but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to become successful. Some who never completed high school also reached success and same with those who decided college was not meant for them. A close friend of mine who I could not make it this far without once told me, “Success can’t be measured, it’s not an endpoint. It’s felt by both you and those affected around you.” Every path you can take has its pros and cons, which varies person to person. The key is to believe in yourself and put in the effort to achieve your success. 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Crawford Jolly

Mentors: We Can’t All be Superhuman

By: Taylor

I think that we all have our own mentors in life. Whether it be a family member, a previous teacher, or a coach, there are always people in life that we look up to and seek advice from. As college students we should also have people that inspire us and who we turn to for career-related knowledge. We can’t have a superhuman tendency and think that we can do everything on our own. Mentors can provide us with networking opportunities, a real-world perspective, constructive criticism, and much more.

I have been reading a few articles on mentors and who the best ones to have are. One author, Kim Kaupe, talked about having four mentors so that your connections would be well-rounded. What were the four? Somebody inside the industry that knows you personally, somebody inside the industry that knows you as an acquaintance, somebody outside the industry that knows you personally, and somebody outside the industry that knows you as an acquaintance. I agree with this model and have set these goals for myself. I think it sets you up with a wide variety of coaches that will come from different places in your life.

That being said, where does one find a mentor? Anywhere! A great place to make connections is at local networking events. This a place where you can find people generally interested in the same line of work as you. Furthermore, consider your family/relatives and your family friends. These people have known you personally and hopefully know a lot about your accomplishments. They will also not hold back when giving honest advice!

You could start by attending UMD’s Alumni Networking Night on November 14th, at The Underground in the Duluth Depot. Make sure to RSVP by November 6th. Find all the details here.

There are many places and ways to find mentors and they can be anybody. Start making these connections early so that the relationships will be more personal and meaningful.

Of possible interest:

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The Missing Milestone: Finding a Mentor

By: Cody

Most college students view their career path as a simplified four-step process; go to college, get an internship, get your degree, and finally get a job and start your career. Of course, we all know there are many more things that go into creating your career path, but these are the four major milestones most people think of. This model may work for some people, but I think it is lacking something, and that something is guidance. It is always a lot easier to do something when you have guidance with someone there to help you, and creating your career path is no different. This is where the missing fifth milestone comes into play on your career path, finding a mentor.

I think finding a mentor is always in the back of students’ minds, but they either don’t have the time or feel the necessity to actually find a mentor. However, I think every student should take the time to find a mentor because they are an invaluable resource. They can give you guidance and support along your career path because they have been through the same thing themselves, or something similar. They can also be a great networking resource when it comes time for you to find an internship or a job. It is also worth noting that it is never too late or too early to start looking for a mentor. Mentors are great to have whether you are just starting out on your career path, or you are a seasoned veteran. No matter where you are on your career path, it is always good to have someone there to help give you guidance and support.

I do practice what I preach and have had a mentor for about a year and a half now. I met him through the mentor program, College Connection, which was sponsored by the young professional’s group in Duluth called Fuse Duluth. I have regular meetings with him about once a month when we talk about my career path, along with anything else that pops into our heads (last time we talked about how we both enjoy snowboarding). He has helped me make decisions about my major, graduate school, and he even helped me get an internship for this semester. So he has provided me with a lot of guidance and has helped me out a lot. I plan on continuing to keep in contact with him even after I graduate from college.

So where do you find a mentor?
The first place I would suggest would be the Fuse Duluth website. However, keep in mind that this program is only for the Duluth area and has a limited number of spots. I believe all the spots are taken for this year already, but it is something to keep in mind for next year. You can also use your networking skills and LinkedIn to help you find a mentor. Reach out to people you know and ask if they, or someone they know, would be interested in being your mentor. Finally, you can try reaching out to companies you might want to work for and see if anyone there would be interested in being your mentor. This would be a great way to get your foot in the door!

If you are in a community other than Duluth, see if your local Chamber of Commerce or Young Professionals group sponsors a similar mentoring program.

If you are still having trouble finding a mentor don’t give up and forget about it, remember mentors are a great resource and one of the five major milestones on your career path. Instead, come into Career & Internship Services! We can give you more resources and help you find that mentor you have always wanted!

Of Possible Interest:

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