The Road to Your Dream Career why doing an internship will change your life

Before I began my internship at the Oregon Department of Education, my ideas and aspirations for what I wanted to do after college lacked a concrete vision or goal. People around me would express that they were going to choose their career path based on salary or job title. None of these "goals" seemed to interest me, because I was more interested in finding work that I could be passionate about, rather than a larger salary. I was looking for a chance to explore my areas of interest and see where I would thrive as a professional.

CAREER EXPLORATION

You don't know what's out there until you explore. On that principle, I applied for my internship in an effort to discover the areas I was passionate about. When I was offered the position, I was so excited to gain hands-on experience in my interest area. It became clear soon after I began working that I would have the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of interests and careers. These opportunities for exploration really helped me narrow down where I wanted my career path to take me.

MENTORING

It felt so good to have so much support from the people on my team. I had opportunities to be mentored by talented professionals, and it was a great feeling to have people who supported and encouraged me in my work. The collaboration and inclusiveness on the team was obvious from the first day I started. I was included in making decisions and developing solutions to challenges. I was given free-reign to think creatively about the projects I was assigned, while still being able to ask questions when I needed help.

REAL WORLD IMPACT

Not only did I gain skills and experience from my internship, my work provided a huge benefit to my team, the agency, and Oregon's education system. I had so many opportunities to engage in real, groundbreaking projects and decisions. It was rewarding to know that my skills and talents were making a difference in my state and in the lives of Oregon's students.

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