Most undergraduate students seek a clear purpose for their education. Put simply, they want careers. If I lived in a system where student loans didn’t exist, I would be a student the rest of my life. Since this isn’t the case, it is crucial to find practical applications for the skills gained throughout my education. I need a career to be successful, and in a fast-paced, advancing world, a degree alone doesn’t guarantee one. The pressure is on for me and all students to take initiative in becoming employable.

Addie Glick

However, the decision to come to college is about more than seeking employability. Undergraduates also expect to find passion and meaning from their education. Most students don’t automatically know their passion when they enter school but have an idea based on their interests. It takes experiences to better understand oneself and what counts as meaningful work.

My peers ask questions like, “What’s next? How do I get a career? How can I make a difference?” Students often progress in a major without knowing their passion and struggle with finding experience for job applications. In my view, both problems can be solved through experiential learning opportunities.

I have taken initiative by using campus resources available for student success, particularly through work study positions with the Career Center and the Service-Learning program. The Career Center taught me to tailor my education toward specific career requirements. Since I am an English writing major, I can market my skills for different careers. However, how am I supposed to commit to a career when I don’t know what it’s like? How can I get the experience necessary for the career I seek?

Experiential learning has given me the opportunity to apply my learning in a relevant context and make crucial career decisions. Particularly, my internship with the Service-Learning program reinforced my decision to pursue technical and marketing writing as a potential career.

In my role with the Service-Learning program, I write about student success stories that illuminate how students take initiative in their education through Service-Learning experiences. I’ve learned about students from different disciplines who became employed because of their Service-Learning experiences, found their passion, or made crucial career decisions based on these experiences.

I’m happy to be part of a campus community that cares about student success, and takes us “beyond our majors” so we can be prepared for life after graduation.