Over the weekend, I went home for my Mother’s birthday. I walked into the kitchen as my mom was talking about her day. She was excited that the student in her 2nd grade class who licks her feet, had worn tennis shoes so she couldn’t do any licking that day. Another student had two “accidents” during the 8-hour school day; Happy birthday Mrs. Swoboda!

As my mom laughed her day off, I started to think about how I ended up choosing my course of study, when I had gone my entire youth imagining a completely different future.

At the beginning of my college career, if you had asked me what I wanted to do someday I would not have been able to answer you. However, at the start of high school, I would have said, “I want to be a teacher, like my mom!” Then, throughout those four years, I spent time in my mom’s classroom doing tasks like grading papers and working with students. Shortly after, I realized that going to school every day to work with young kids was not something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Coming to that realization was scary.  I had no idea where to go next. I always had a picture in my head that I would somehow just know what I wanted to do with my future when the time came. I would simply go off to college and live happily ever after.

At Loras College I started off as an undecided major. While the path of knowing exactly what you want to pursue as a major is in the cards for some people, others like myself have to learn through trial and error. Going to college while still undecided as to what to study for the next four years was really overwhelming. Being undecided about my future has forced me to say “yes” to more learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

Once at college, I had discovered an interest in business.  I did some time as an intern working in finance. I learned a lot during that internship; the main one being that finance was not for me. Thankfully that experience was early on in my college career so I was able to choose a different direction with my classes. Without that hands-on opportunity, I may have made some false assumptions about careers in that field.  The internship gave me the opportunity to test drive that career path before committing to it.

The next semester, I took Principles of Marketing. I was intrigued by the material, projects, discussions and assignments.  At first, I was hesitant because of how I had taken a liking to finance only to learn I did not want to pursue it.  I found an internship in social media and marketing to test the water. That internship opened my eyes to all the things I had yet to learn about marketing and I found I was excited to go to work every day. The marketing classes that I had enrolled in were project heavy and did not include many writing assignments. In my internship, I had to write for the monthly newsletters, create content for social media and learn to write on a deadline. These were excellent skill sets to learn!

Internships are an important opportunity for young college adults. They provide the setting for learning about personal strengths and weaknesses and how to apply yourself in a hands-on environment. Going into college undecided was scary, but ultimately something I look back on feeling grateful for. The internships I have experienced all guided me toward something I truly enjoy.

Choosing a major in college is what you study over four years. What you choose as a career is what you study for the rest of your life.  It plays an enormous role in whether you end up working at a job or with a passion.  I am committed to do what I am passionate about and love the process of figuring it out.

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Katie Swoboda headshot– Katie Swoboda │ Business Development Coordinator Intern