Our New Platforms: Electronic Resources for Your Journey

There are so many new platforms that The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career has been rolling out in the past year! Which one should you use?

When searching for an internship or career after college, there are so many different places to begin looking. It can be overwhelming, especially if you do not know where to start. Hope College has three platforms that are easy to navigate, compliment one another, and are customizable for each student. Those platforms are PathwayU, Handshake, and The Hope College Connection. Each of these are unique in the resources they provide but each equally as valuable and helpful to students.

You might not know about: PathwayU

When starting your journey here at Hope, we recommend you begin with PathwayU. PathwayU is a platform that will make recommendations based on your specific strengths as it relates to a certain major or career path. This resource will be replacing two of the existing assessments we offer (MBTI & Strong Interest Inventory). When you first make an account, it will have you take a 15-20 minute quiz that asks various questions about yourself, from how you handle stressful situations to how you prefer your work environment. As with any personality assessment, it is important to be honest when answering the questions so you get the most accurate response. Once you have completed the various assessments, PathwayU will tell you all the jobs that you matched with and it will rate the match from “very strong” to “weak.” This feature can be helpful because it informs you of the wide variety of jobs that you may have not considered before. PathwayU also syncs up with Handshake.

You might be familiar with: Handshake 

Handshake is a platform similar to Indeed in that it is a centralized resource for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Something that makes Handshake unique is that it is specific to Hope College students. If you login with your Hope email address, all the jobs and internships posted are listings that only Hope students can see. You can (and should) customize your profile to make it your own by uploading your resume, inputting the type of position(s) you are looking for, and including other personal information (like grad year and major). Handshake is also the one stop shop for a bunch of other resources. Most importantly, Handshake is where you can schedule an appointment with our team as well as RSVP for a variety of events The Boerigter Center is hosting. 

You might just have learned about: The Hope College Connection

The third platform is another one that is exclusive to the Hope College community. It was just launched and it’s called The Hope College Connection. The Hope College Connection is an online resource to connect Hope alumni, families, friends, and current students for networking and mentoring opportunities. Similar to LinkedIn, the site allows users to request to connect with each other, request meetings or send a message. 

Your step nexts

Now that you have some background on each of these platforms, how do you get started using them? 

  • If you are interested in PathwayU email assessments@hope.edu and you will get a link to make an account and take the assessments.
  • Hope students can make an account on Handshake using their Hope email address. Once you are signed in, complete your profile and then start exploring or make an appointment.
  • To get started with Hope College Connections, head over to connection.hope.edu and follow the prompts to sign up. Once you are approved, you can complete your profile (you can use LinkedIn or your resume). After your profile is complete head to the “Make a Connection” tab and start connecting! 

As always, we are here to answer any questions you might have. Please call us at 616-395-7950 or email us at careers@hope.edu You can always stop by our office or come to drop-in hours from 3-4:30 pm Monday through Friday when school is in session. 

We hope you find a platform to serve you on your journey!

College to Career: Figuring Out the World After Hope

Are you feeling confused about what life after college looks like? Do you wonder about how to manage your finances, understand benefits, 401ks, or know how to find a job that is right for you? You can have all these questions answered and more at our College to Career event being held on February 25th from 6 – 7:30pm.

This event is a “meet and greet” style that will allow students to learn from a variety of professionals and alum. There will be introductions from each of our speakers and stations to rotate around to each one of them. Below is a little glimpse into each of our speakers and the area they will be advising on.

Andrew Schut is attending the event to speak about personal finance. He is the Assistant Professor of Accounting here at Hope.

Lori Mulder is returning to this event to talk about human resources (benefits, contracts, etc.). She is the Director of Human Resources here at Hope.

Stephanie Forest is a returner to the event and will speak about financial aid (aka paying off those student loans). She is the Associate Director of Financial Aid here at Hope.

Dale Austin is attending this event to speak into all the steps to be taking when seeking employment. He works in the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. 

Garret Gormley is joining us to speak about life after college. He graduated Hope in 2018 and now works as an Inside Sales Representative at Gordon Food Service.

We hope to see you there at our College to Career event. Head to Handshake to register. This is a great opportunity to prepare yourself for what life holds beyond Hope in your career.

Speed Dating to Career Fair: Finding Transferable Skills in Unusual Places This Valentine’s Day Career Fair 101

With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, you may have some plans; maybe you are going out on a date, hanging out with friends, or chilling in your room with some nice chocolate, some tea, and a good movie. Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope that you are looking forward to the Career and Internship Fair on February 19! Regardless of where you are in the process of preparing to go job hunting, take a little time and read through the five steps below to help you have a strong performance at the fair. And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, reflect on the transferable skills you can bring in from speed dating!

Step One: Do Your Research!

When first preparing to go to the Career Fair, be sure to pull up the list of companies that will be attending and work on identifying which companies you think are interesting. Think about someone who catches your eye. You may look them up on social media to see if you can discover more about them. The same concept applies to a career fair! Check out attending employer’s websites and job descriptions to start identifying companies that may be a good fit for you. It’s best to go into a career fair knowing at least a little about who is there and what you are looking for, otherwise, it can be a touch overwhelming. For our fair, you can check out the Handshake event to see a list of employers who are attending.

Step Two: Build Your Resume!

When you are preparing to go to a speed dating event or a blind date one of the first things you may do is put together a list of stories and information about yourself that you can share with those you meet to give them a well-rounded idea of who you are. You should spend time doing the professional version of this before a career fair and build a resume! A resume should be a one-page document that has three main sections: a header, an education section, and an experience section. Alongside this, there are other sections you can add to expand on those three sections such as an objective section, college leadership, awards, and skills depending on what would be most helpful to showcase to a potential employer. If you are struggling to put together the perfect resume for the Career Fair, check out the guides that are on the Boerigter Center’s website or stop in for a resume review during drop-in hours. Drop-ins are available from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and if you cannot make any of those times, do not worry, we also have individual appointments available!

Step Three: Prepare Your Elevator Pitch!

What are a few things about you that you try to tell someone you are interested in as soon as possible? How do you get their attention? How do you make sure they remember you and don’t look confused when you say hello to them? These are things you may think about with Valentine’s Day tomorrow or with speed dating, but have you ever thought about how to make yourself stand out during a career fair? That is what your elevator pitch should do at a fair! An elevator pitch is a quick 30-60 second pitch that you give to the recruiter at the fair. It should essentially consist of three parts: your key strengths, why you are interested in the industry, and what would make your contributions unique. It’s important that you take the time to think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. While what you say is important, how you say it sends a message as well! Make sure you make eye contact, give a good handshake, smile, and know enough about the company you are speaking to so as to be able to comfortably carry on a conversation.

Step Four: Dress For Success!

If you have ever been interested in someone before or have prepared to go to an event where you think you may meet someone attractive, you have probably spent some time thinking about what you will wear to look and feel your best. Appearance is also a focus at a career fair because first impressions matter even in a professional relationship. The dress code for the upcoming Career Fair is business casual. When in doubt about what to wear, it is better to err on the side of dressing too formally rather than too casually. But where’s the line? Check out the Boerigter Center’s how-to guide on the website. It’s important to be remembered by potential employers for your poise, professionalism, and experience… not what you wore.

Step Five: Follow Up!

Who was that engaging, nice, funny person you connected with while you were speed dating? Surely you got their number and are planning to connect with them soon, because once you made that connection you wouldn’t want to let it fall apart! If that is a concern when romance is involved, you can be sure the same idea applies to a job fair. Make sure that you get the contact information for and follow up with the connections that you made during the event. Sending a short, to the point email within twenty-four hours after the event to the recruiter mentioning where you met, what you talked about, and how excited you are is a great starting point. Don’t make your follow up emails too long though! You don’t want to scare away your contact but you still want to keep yourself fresh in their memory.

Relax, prepare, and we look forward to seeing you there!

We hope to see you at the Career and Internship Fair on February 19 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Great Room in the Bultman Student Center!

Make Connections! Boerigter Center Events and Programs Spring 2020

Hey students – Two words that summarize everything going on at the Boerigter Center this semester: Make Connections!

Years ago, I was living and working in the Detroit area, keeping an eye out for an opportunity to move to West Michigan to be closer to family. I applied online for various jobs with little success. I had heard that most jobs are found through people that can help you make connections. So I decided to give it a try. I reached out to a fellow Hope grad whom I had never met before and asked her if she would be willing to meet and give me some advice. She quickly agreed, and we had a great conversation. It turns out she knew the CEO of a start-up company I was looking at, and she encouraged me to pursue an opportunity with them. Thanks to her, I landed the role and have lived happily in West Michigan ever since.

Whether you are in your first year at Hope, or your last year, or anywhere in between, the Boerigter Center is creating opportunities for YOU to make connections! If you are wanting to learn more about certain professions or metro areas, sign up for one of our Hope College Connection Live! events to connect with alumni who can talk about their experience. If you are looking for a summer internship or a job after graduation, come connect with recruiters at the Spring Career and Internship Fair on Feb. 19. Those events and others are listed below.

Watch your email for another big deal coming this March – The Hope College Connection – a brand new system allowing you to connect directly with alumni and parents who are eager to share career advice and support you in your journey.

If you have any questions, come stop by our office anytime. We can work with you to come up with a personalized plan to make connections for everything from career discernment to jobs and grad school decisions. We hope to connect with you soon!

  • Tues Jan 28: Internship Planning Workshop
    • Join us to learn the planning steps for securing a future internship! This workshop is best suited for students in the beginning stages of internship planning. Although, all students in any major are welcome to join. 
  • Tues Jan 28: Hope College Connection Live! Lansing (Bus, Gov, Law)
    • Hope College Connection Live! provides an opportunity for current students to meet alumni and receive advice for navigating careers, finding and internship, job searching and so much more! While alumni from all industries have been invited to this event, the Lansing program will have a government and business.
  • Tues Feb 18: Hope College Connection Live! Royal Oak (Healthcare)
    • This opportunity allows students to connect with alumni and receive advice about further schooling, possible career paths and much more. The Royal Oak  program will have a health professions emphasis (DO, MD, PT, OT, Speech Path, DDS, Optometry, Pharmacy, Medical Social Work, Podiatry, Nursing).
  • Wed Feb 19: Spring Career & Internship Fair 
    • Calling all students seeking an internship or full-time job. The Spring Career and Internship Fair will enable you to make connections with possible future employers and learn about prospective job opportunities. 
  • Thurs Feb 20: Liberal Arts & Careers in Healthcare
    • Join local private liberal arts colleges and universities for the “Beyond the Bedside: Your Opportunity in Healthcare” event. Hear from local practitioners and alumni working in the field in roles other than patient care. Enjoy refreshments and a chance to learn about healthcare jobs in Grand Rapids. 
  • Tues Feb 25: Summer Camp & Ministry Fair
    • This event is for any students seeking a Summer Camp job opportunity. Approximately two dozen camps will be attending to find future employees for a summer or full-time position. 
  • Wed Feb 26: GVSU Winter 2020 Career and Internship Fair
    • The Career and Internship Fair at Grand Valley is a great opportunity to meet potential employers, learn about internships in the area, and build your professional network. This event is expected to have over 230 employers with thousands of immediate job openings!
  • Tues Mar 3: Hope College Connection Live! Grand Rapids (All fields)
    • Want to stay in the greater Grand Rapids area after graduation? If so, this event is for you! This networking event is a great way to make connections with possible employers in the Grand Rapids area. It is also an opportunity to learn about employers hiring processes and find potential pathways to take in your field of study.
  • Tues Apr 7: Hope College Connection Live! Chicago (All fields) 
    • Interested in living and working in the Chicago area? This networking event is a great way to make connections with possible employers, learn about their hiring processes, and learn about potential jobs in your field.

So you want to be a Graduate Assistant?

When weighing graduate school options one opportunity students should look to consider is a graduate assistantship in athletics. It is a great way to earn money while in school and also gain invaluable experiences in your field. 

Graduate assistants are very important to a collegiate sports team, and because of that the NCAA has bylaws that GA’s and universities must follow. You will be compensated for work as a graduate assistant, which will depend on the university, they are not allowed to arrange an additional job on campus during the academic year. Being a GA also will cover at least 50% of your tuition. The NCAA limits terms on GA’s to 2 years, this fits well into the timeline for most graduate programs. To be a graduate assistant you must be admitted to a graduate program at the school you wish to be a GA. You also must be within 7 years of receiving an undergraduate degree or have exhausted all of your athletic eligibility. 

A GA position with a sports team is an excellent way to gain coaching skills as you will be working with experienced coaches. Many of the top coaches in the country got their start as a grad assistant after they finished competing as a student-athlete. Jacob Pardonnet ’18 currently works as a graduate assistant for Bryant University’s football program. He is pursuing his MBA with a specialization in business analytics. Pardonnet was able to use his athletic experience playing football for Hope College to coach the outside linebackers at Bryant. 

“I’ve got a journal with every single job I applied for over the course of a year. The number sits at 86, give or take a few. On top of that I went to the NFL Combine and the Coaches Convention to try and make something happen through face-to-face networking. Those trips included some terrifying interactions with Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, and Les Snead…but that’s a different story. When it was all said and done I was able to get five phone calls about the possibility of a position. You can never grow complacent and think you’re doing enough if you’re truly passionate about getting a job in this industry. I was choice number 6 for the school I’m currently at, the first 5 were either unable to get into grad school or they moved on to bigger opportunities”

During the season Pardonnet has many jobs that he is tasked with and he typically works from 8am to 10pm. His duties typically include: breaking down game and practice film, analyzing opponent film one week in advance while also putting together the scouting report and recruiting. He also does some of the logistical things for the team, such as: reserving and setting up meeting rooms, setting up game equipment. He also does all of this on top of coaching the outside linebackers and graduate school. As a GA you will have many commitments and a large part of the job is managing those commitments the best way you can.  

“Things are constantly in flux and you could get a new assignment at any given moment. When you’re a student athlete, the biggest skill you learn is time management. As a GA, it’s prioritization. There’s no free time to begin with so you’d better knock out the important stuff as soon as possible and hit the rest in pieces when you can”

Pardonnet also had some advice for students that are pursuing a graduate assistantship.

jacob coaching
Jacob in action on the football field.

“Stay hungry! You can’t think of this as a job, it has to be your life. If you have the clock in/clock out mentality, it will crush you. Don’t forget why you got into this in the first place, and keep pushing and pushing and pushing. Also, don’t think you’re in it alone. It will definitely seem like it at times, but there’s always someone who’s got your back”

Another great opportunity as a GA is working as an athletic trainer. Another Hope graduate Bryanna Howard ‘18 is currently a GA at the University of Utah where she is working on her Masters of Science in Sports Medicine. She was given her placement at a local high school where she works with around 700 athletes across 15 sports. 

Bryanna (center) with her colleagues.

“I cover all on-campus practices and games as well as facilitate in-house rehabilitation for a variety of orthopedic and musculoskeletal injuries.  We also facilitate and provide care for any emergencies during athletic play and coordinate with local hospitals and EMS agencies for game coverage and referrals for athletes”

Being a GA is a large time commitment and as Pardonnet said that prioritization is key to success in a GA position. 

 “Workload is high as a GA, it can get frustrating to have so many commitments, but not get paid as much as you would like to.  But it facilitates an incredible learning environment where you can soak up knowledge from the full-time staff you are working with.” 

Howard was able to use some of the resources at Boerigter Center to help her gain her GA position. 

“I used the (Boerigter) Center A LOT.  I had 3, if not 4 mock interviews and I requested that they throw any question at me. Practice for an interview is your best friend. I also had staff there read my resume and cover letter and provide feedback”. 

Howard also had some advice to offer someone applying for a GA position.    

“Apply early and apply often. I applied to 9 graduate schools and heard back from 5 and interviewed at a few places less than that. I encourage people to not be discouraged, but to discern what makes them different. Participate in events at Hope, get involved. Get involved in things that make you happy, not only what will boost your resume. Don’t be fearful.  Put yourself out there.  Never in a million years did I think I would move 2,000 miles away from home to do this thing called graduate school and work my butt off as a GA.  But the experience is worth it , despite the fears that may stand in your way”

Finding a GA position will be a difficult process that will require a lot of time but the payoff in gaining invaluable experience is unparalleled. The experience gained will set you up well for the future career goals that you want to pursue. 

Bryanna with her colleagues onsite at Nitro World games.

Senior Christmas Break Checklist

The holiday break is almost upon us. For some of you, this may be the first time you’re experiencing the joys of the long-awaited Christmas and New Year’s break from the busy schoolwork and extracurricular meetings. For others, this may be the final time you’ll be getting time off before launching into the next season of life. If you’re one of the people in the latter category, there’s a few things to keep on your radar for over the break. Although it’s a break from classes, this time is precious and can be used to help get some things in order as you prep for the next phase.

  1. Résumé. Brush off the dust and update it if necessary. If you haven’t created a résumé yet, you should begin. Click here to see a good template to get you started. If you’ve already done so, update your résumé to make it more current, make several versions catered to different jobs if you have a lot of various experiences, and give it a thorough proofread.
  2. LinkedIn. Start or update your LinkedIn portfolio. There’s a whole series of blogs on how-to use LinkedIn. The first one is catered towards the basics of your LinkedIn portfolio. Basically, you want your LinkedIn to be your professional Facebook. Have activity on your account and make sure that you’ve filled out your profile page.
  3. Job Applications. Once we all return back from break, the months will fly by. If you haven’t started applying and locking-down a job for post-grad, it’s a great time to start seeking out and applying for different opportunities. Keep your options open and apply to plenty to give yourself the best chances and choices.
  4. Portfolio. Some majors may benefit from having a solid portfolio. Art, writing, and education majors are some examples of people who may want to exemplify their work via a different platform. It’s always a good idea to have another way to showcase your hard work, and sites like Wix and Weebly are highly beneficial to helping you get started.
  5. Cover Letter. You’re going to want to have a solid cover letter to go along with a résumé and application. It’s always a nice idea to have a letter on file that can be edited and tweaked for various jobs. You can have a couple of samples that range from more professional and direct to more creative. Here you can find a basis for writing a cover letter.
  6. Interview Prep. Take common interview questions and write out answers. When you’re thinking about answering questions keep in mind the S.T.A.R. method. This acronym stands for situation, task, action, and result. Keep in mind how your experiences can showcase how you’ve handled situations, specifies your skills, shows the ways in which you’ve demonstrated those things tangibly, and what were the overall results and takeaways.
  7. Get the Garb. Dressing the part is an essential aspect of the interview process. You may already have interview and job-appropriate clothing options, but, if not, the holiday season is a great time to invest in some new garb. For ideas of what is appropriate, check out our Pinterest page. Your garb is a great way to display your professionalism as well as to showcase your unique style and personality.
  8. Know Your Options. You have plenty of resources to utilize here at Hope to help make the next stage of life feel a bit easier. The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career offers plenty of choices for various sessions and appointments. Be sure to check out our offerings on our website. To schedule an appointment, feel free to log into your Handshake account.
  9. Do Your Research. When interviewing with a company, it’s essential to have a basic grasp on who the company is. Be sure to check out their website and also look into the benefits and other perks of the company. Things like pay structures, stock options, travel allowances, and especially benefits like insurance and retirement can end up being big factors in what makes you choose one job over another.

Whatever you spend your break doing, make sure to take some time to rest and rejuvenate. With graduation coming in a few short months, it’s important to refocus and re-energize to prepare yourself for the next steps in life. If you want to learn more about practices in self-care, this article is one that will hopefully challenge you to grow as you prepare for another busy season of life.

Giving Tuesday: Ways to give back through your career

Giving Tuesday takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day was established in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation with the simple idea of a day for people to do good. Over the last seven years the idea of Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement for people to practice giving and celebrating generosity. Everyone has something to give, and this day reminds us to do so. Visit www.givingtuesday.org to learn more about Giving Tuesday.

Alumni can give back throughout their career!

A great, easy way to give back is to send or accept an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. This simple act allows students to find new connections in their intended field and maybe even the right connection to a new job! If you’re feeling extra generous, you can send the student helpful tips and tricks for interviewing or networking in your industry.

Hope has networking events coming up in Holland, Lansing, Royal Oak, Grand Rapids and Chicago. Find one near you, and register to attend by heading over to hope.edu/alumni. This is a great way to meet Hope students and create personal connections…maybe turn into someone’s mentor! This also allows students to create contacts with alums in their intended field that are attuned to the work ethic Hope students are known for.

Another way to give back to Hope students is to offer to host a student through our DiscoverWork Program. This opportunity allows you to connect with students to explore your career path through job shadowing. The DiscoverWork Program also provides a chance to meet potential interns or full-time employees. For more information on the DiscoverWork program please visit hope.edu/discoverwork or reach out to careers@hope.edu to get on the invite list.

There are so many ways you can give back on Giving Tuesday and we hope you find the right fit for you!

Parent to Parent: Helping Your Student Navigate Their Vocation and Calling

So your son or daughter returned home for the holidays! You are so excited to see them only to have that dampened by mounds of dirty laundry, late night comings and goings, and an expressed lack of direction toward a major and career path. The laundry is a long but simple fix. Reminders about expectations while under your roof also easy to navigate. How to help them find direction and discern their vocation and calling… WOAH! Millions of fears and questions race through your head. What if your child ends up wandering aimlessly through life? Maybe even live in your basement while doing it? How do you help your young adults find direction to prevent this as they head back to campus?

ENCOURAGE THEM TO COME TO THE BOERIGTER CENTER FOR CALLING AND CAREER!

We are here to help them and would love your partnership. Your student is anxious about figuring out what to do with their life, especially as it relates to career. We can help both of you!

As parents we do our best to help our kids. What can sometimes happen though is we add pressure in addition to support. Here are some frequent things I hear from students:

  • “I’m afraid I will let my family down because I don’t have things figured out yet”
  • “People keep telling me I would be good at this but it just doesn’t feel like me, so should I do it anyway? Don’t they know best?”
  • “I feel like I’m the only one in the world who does not have things figured out!”

These are just a few examples. Your student may have a lot of anxiety over not knowing what major to choose and/or what career path to follow. We want to help them and you through this time. Every family is different and I don’t claim to be an expert with every situation, but as a mom to three adult children, a trained counselor, and career professional, I like to think I can offer some helpful techniques to try.

First, when I said encourage them to come to the BCCC, what I meant is ask them if they have come to meet with one of our staff. Tell them you know we help students with the discernment/figuring out process. Ask them if they think it might be helpful to talk to someone. Help them take that first step knowing we will take it from there.

Whenever possible ask questions! Open ended questions that do not allow for a simple yes or no are best. Be careful with your tone and affirm that you want them to be a happy and find a good fit. Maybe even share your own story and be sure to include how you struggled to figure things out and how your path has possibly taken you places you didn’t expect.

Share the people in your life who helped you then and help you now with your decision making process. It takes a village right? Help them understand who is in their village and how to add others who will be supportive.
One of the hardest things I had to do as a parent of a college student was to recommend they talk to someone in the Career Office on their college campus. How do I trust she will get good advice from someone else who doesn’t know her like I do? It was one of the best things I did for her as a student! She received good advice and found another person for her village. I trusted them and I’m asking you to trust us. We want to help your son and/or daughter find their calling and prepare for life after Hope and we want to partner with you to do that!

A Note to Senior Public Accounting Majors

Dear future CPAs,

Fall recruiting is booming, and with it the stress of the future. Many of you may be in the midst of interviews and applications, while others are still riding the emotional high of accepting your first full-time position for after graduation. For those of us that have accepted a position, it is important to stay focused on school, and finish strong. As Prof. Geddes would say, “Rise up!”

Despite securing a position, staying on top of our industry specific courses is still important, and this is true for a variety of reasons. The first of which is that our testing is not over. The dreaded CPA exams still await after graduation, and what we learn in Advanced, Tax, Audit, GNP, and so on will be on there! Relearning something in a review course is sure to be easier than learning it all together. Pay attention in class and try and grasp all the concepts we are going through.

Another reason to take classes seriously is for professional development. We will be tasked with long, grueling, and difficult projects, audits, or tax returns in the future. Finishing out classes will assist us in forming stronger professional skills. We will have a job to do, and finishing out college strong is important in gleaning the mentality of completing our work, and finishing strong. Staying focused on classes will also further our routine of work, and hopefully prevent a culture shock when we begin our full-time positions.

Lastly, we’ve put so much work into school, why let it all go to waste with a poor final year? If you fail a course, you may have to take another semester, and get pushed back from starting, and even possibly lose the job offer you have! Let’s finish out college strong, continue the standards we have set for ourselves thus far, and get ready for what life after college will be like!

What is Second Seminar? Major Decisions, Without Major Stress

When I tell people I am a Teacher’s Assistant for Second Seminar (IDS 295: Second Seminar, Designing a Life That Matters) people almost always want to know more about what the class is all about. In response, I usually try and sum up everything Second Sem is within two to three sentences and what I have found is that is something extremely hard to do. Sure, it’s easy to tell people it’s a 2 credit class and that it counts toward your GLD requirement, but it gets more complicated when I try and dig in to what it really meant for me last semester when I was in the class myself.  

For me personally, Second Sem may well be the most meaningful class I have ever taken and will ever take in my life. The time spent in the class taught me how to look inward and find what I was truly meant to do; what God has called me to do, not what I thought I should do or what other people told me I needed to do. I learned I have a purpose, that I am significant, and that what I will do with my life will make an impact. I learned that it is not so much what you do as how you do it. For example, I feel that my purpose in life is to bring people joy and exemplify the love of Jesus for all. This is my vocation; this is my calling. What major I choose, what job I end up in is of less importance than how I choose to live in to my calling. Exemplifying joy and love are things I will be able to do no matter what profession I call mine. While I do have a dream job as most people do, because of this class, I now worry less about my major, my career, and “the rest of my life” and focus more on living out my calling every day. 

Second Sem has taught me that not only is it okay not to have my entire life planned out, but, in fact, that it is wonderful not to. It has taught me that there is not one right major for me, not one right job for me, not one right life for me, but there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of good options. I get the freedom of choosing my path step by step, enabling me to fully enjoy every moment I am given instead of worrying about the next.  

Finally, Second Seminar has taught me that my life is so much more than the classes I take now, the major I choose now, and the job(s) I choose later. This class exposes the myth that my major will decide the rest of my life. You do not choose your life when you choose your major or a job/career. You are so much more than your career, and if you follow your vocation, your calling, you will realize this because it will extend to every part of your life. You can live out your calling within your friendships and the way you greet strangers on the street, and the beautiful thing about Second Sem is that it teaches you how to do this. Through this class, one will learn to search within oneself, seeking out even the scary parts, to find who they are and what they are meant to do, and will learn how to live in true harmony with these findings, improving both themselves and the community in which they live. 

If you’re stressed, if you’re unsure of what you’re meant to do or be, or if you just want to have a place where thinking about these big life questions is encouraged, I recommend taking this course. For me, taking Second Seminar helped me find who I was truly meant to be. 

Course Information:

IDS 295 Second Seminar; Designing A Life That Matters
Spring CRN 11919
2CR, TH 1:30pm-2:50pm
Instructor: Shannon Schans
GLD Flagged Course