Gabriela Batres Salinas, California State University, Northridge
Embrace Your Journey
A consistent theme mentioned at our meetings during The National Millennial and Gen Z Community trip to Los Angeles was: "Where you start is not where you finish."
After graduating from college, many of us did not have the connections to land our dream job or internship opportunity. Various professionals in public relations and marketing emphasize this point--that relationships and connections are important. And many of us only find what we are passionate about once we have some experience by simply living our lives.
Initially, it is discouraging when you do not find opportunities in places where you had envisioned. I realized it is okay to feel overwhelmed by life's changes. Everyone's journey is unique; therefore, we should not give up and strive to discover our passion by pursuing the best in ourselves. Passion drives the light within us, which ultimately is the thing that makes people look at us differently. We also see this passion in our work and projects, which sometimes reflect what we may be feeling inside. As young professionals, we must be brave enough to walk our unique path, which can sometimes be daunting. We must put our best foot forward and walk with our heads held high, knowing that we are doing our best with what we have.
Opportunities will come because that is life; we go through various ups and downs. We may overlook some places simply because they are not where we thought we would be. However, our path reveals to us certain things driven by our interests. We sometimes have to give certain things a chance because they may surprise us in a positive way that we may have never thought of. It's all a journey, and we must embrace and own it.
We were privileged to visit various top-level executives at companies and organizations such as Experian, Abernathy MacGregor, IW Group, Inc., Walt Disney Imagineering, Beam Suntory, KCET/PBS SoCal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and South Coast Plaza. They all shared the commonality of coming from various backgrounds and graduating with different college degrees. Their current practice is different from what they majored in at their university. In other words, just because some of us graduated with a degree in engineering (or any other major in college) does not mean we cannot pursue or change our dream careers.
This is why it is essential to remember that wherever we start does not define where we will finish. It is up to us what we decide to pursue in our lives and careers. At the same time, it is always wise to keep learning and developing ourselves professionally, for we do not know what we will need for future opportunities. We must take advantage of our time, whether that is an up or down moment.
Lastly, after reading all this, I hope you will never forget that: Where you start is not where you finish.