Me Near the Colorado Sand Dunes After Graduating

Welcome back, everyone! Can you believe that we are already in the third week of spring term? Hope your courses are going really well, and you’re enjoying warmer, sunnier weather every day.

So, I’m the Career Changer, Jessica, and I’ve been writing all year about my wavy career path to illustrate that the straight path isn’t always the right path to a rewarding life’s work. The last time I wrote, I told you about how I was teaching composition and creative writing in an MFA program, enjoying my students, and learning about myself every day. Although stressful and busy, these three years were an amazing period of my life!

As I was finishing my thesis, (a 120 page book of poetry!) I began to realize that the moments I most enjoyed with my students were one-on-one. As part of my writing course curriculum, I had several conferences set up over the course of the term with my students, and I loved when they would come into my office and tell me what was going on in their writing AND in their academic lives. It was exciting to hear about the diverse paths, interests, and goals of my students, almost like getting to experience all these things myself by learning about their strategies to find their way in the world. I began to provide my students with feedback and resources so that they could make more informed choices, and it was really fun!

When I graduated from the program, I knew that what I really wanted to do was advising of some sort. At first, this was disappointing because I had spent the past three years preparing for a career in writing instruction. But I valued the experience, and I felt that a lot of to skills I learned in those three years applied directly to advising. But since this was a shift in my plan, I needed some time to regroup. I decided to go back to the Creede Repertory Theatre to work as an actor for the summer again; I’d figure out what was next after that.

What was next was a wedding and a winter in a very cold house and a couple of new jobs that taught me a ton along the way. I’ll fill you in on these next time.

Jessica Baron is currently a Graduate Assistant in Career Services at OSU and a full time student in the College Student Services Administration Program. Before making her way to Oregon State, Jessica worked as an actor, waiter, online tutor, receptionist, college composition instructor, creative writer, gas station attendant, nonprofit program director, writing workshop leader, high school drama coach, Hallmark card straightener, substitute teacher, real estate office manager, and SAT tutor, not necessarily in that order. Her “Confessions of a Career Changer” focuses on her wavy career path and the challenges and joys of wanting to do everything.

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3 thoughts on “Confessions of a Career Changer: MFA to Find Your Passion

  1. Hi Jessica,
    I just wanted to connect with you because:
    1. I am an OSU grad in the CSSA program
    2. You spoke of advising being a passion, and I am a former Director of Advising at a community college
    3. I am a career counselor… and found my passion along the way.
    4. I am a HUGE believer in people discovering their career paths through happenstance.
    I would love to connect with you sometime, possibly through Linked In or even skype.
    p.s. I skyped with Adry last fall on this same topic.

  2. Thanks, Jim!
    I would love to connect; I’m in my first year of the CSSA program and really enjoying it. I often think that students get stuck in decision stress in their undergraduate years because they have an idea that, once they commit to a plan for a career and major, they can’t change course. I’m a big believer in following where my path leads and trying not to lament time wasted, because it never was time wasted! It was the experience I needed to have in order to find out more about who I am and who I want to be in the world. So, with my blog this year, I’ve been trying to illustrate those lessons I’ve learned (and I’m continuing to learn!) as I make choices about my worklife, to show students that you don’t have to commit to a lifetime; where do you see yourself in the future from here, from where you stand right now? That is kind of my goal. So, in other words, I would love to start a dialogue on these issues.

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