Choosing the right career path seems a daunting decision to most college students. While some hope that they will wake up one morning to find their career aspirations all laid out in front of them, others are stuck in the midst of confusion and uncertainty. Students are hesitant of making such an immense choice and frequently find themselves not putting in the necessary effort to fully understand their field.
To help students, the Career Center at St. John’s has created a program called Count On Alumni for Career Help (COACH). The program allows students to reach out to alumni as well as friends of the University to acquire any type of knowledge on the field they wish to pursue. Alumni are able to guide students with any questions or concerns they have and clear up any uncertainties or myths.
COACH allows students to inquire about what skills are necessary to be successful in their area. They can even seek guidance on how to successfully network and land a stellar job or internship.
Eunice Lee, an assistant district attorney at King’s County Prosector’s Office, says the key to declaring the ideal career is to talk to as many people as possible who practice in an individual’s area of interest. This way, students are able to understand a potential field before taking the necessary steps to sustain it.
Juliana Bastos, a senior marketing major originally from Lima, Peru, became interested in COACH after seeing former United Nations employee Nick Lananna listed as an alumnus. She met with the former history student to get an inside peek of his company. While Lananna planned on becoming a teacher upon graduation, he currently works as a manager of the traveling department with UNICEF. Lananna mentioned how imperative it is to learn how to work in a fast paced environment.
After meeting her coach, Bastos became inspired and gained a sense of direction with her career aspirations. Lananna informed her that it was vital to challenge herself both in and outside of the classroom.
Bastos used this advice and joined GLOBE, a student managed microfinance program. She became team liaison for her group and executed three different videos used for advertising purposes. She also applied to several marketing internships and interviewed with Sony, CBS News, Barneys NY and Project Enterprise. She finally decided on CBS News, where she frequently engages with people who have a passion to deliver and make a difference via the news.
Upon graduation, Bastos wishes to pursue her Master’s degree in international relations. She is interested in the administrative side of work such as marketing directing or event planning. Lananna suggests that students interested in these positions should make themselves as marketable as possible now so that they can be aggressive in the competitive market upon graduation.
“Without the direction of COACH, I cannot say that I would be where I am today,” said Bastos. “I enjoy learning different things, but I can assure you the only way to know if you will like something is if you get exposed to the real job and people now. Taking advantage of this program is a great way to find out.”
“The best advice comes from listening to the personal experiences of others,” says Laura Smith, senior career counselor. “COACH enables students to talk with experienced professionals to seek career information and advice. Our coaches represent a wide range of career fields and help students by providing one-to-one advisement in person, over the phone or via e-mail. Any student can take advantage of COACH.”
For more information on COACH, contact the Career Center or visit their website: http://www.stjohns.edu/services/career.