BY KIMBERLY BENNETT
Three years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today in my college experience. When I started college at McKendree University in the fall of 2011, I was considering accounting. However, there was just one large problem with that decision. I had never taken an accounting class in my life. My reasoning for wanting (or rather, deciding) to go into accounting was merely because of the salary most accountants are paid yearly. No offense to aspiring accountants, but I quickly learned (after my first accounting class) that accounting was certainly not for me. Needless to say, I changed my major to Secondary Education of Mathematics by the end of the fall semester.
Although I love math and excel in it quite well, the amount of math classes I needed to take for the education path was too overwhelming. Because I was a semester behind on figuring out what I wanted to do, I knew there was no way I was going to graduate in 4 years if I pursued a mathematics degree in education. So, like accounting, I ditched math, and decided to go into Secondary Education of English. Before I made my decision, I wrote down a list of hobbies I really liked to do, and writing was one of them. Since there wasn’t a solid writing major, I decided to go into the education side of English, thinking it was the only option I had for the English field.
Again, I was wrong. (You see a trend, don’t you?)
I made it as far as the first semester of observations. It didn’t take too long to realize that teaching wasn’t for me. So, I decided to stick with English but drop the Education tag to my major. However, I was in a bind. I was not sure what I wanted to do with my future English degree, and knew it was too late to change my major if I wanted to graduate with my class in 2015. So, Dr. Santee introduced me to a new English course called “Professions of the English Major.” It was a one credit, online independent study. I thought, “What the heck? It might be good for me to see what a degree in English can offer.”
In regards to the course, I am very glad I had taken it; it helped me shape my goals and figure out what I really wanted to do in life. I realized, through that class as well as working with the Review and volunteering for the Montage, that I thoroughly enjoy editing. I don’t know why, but I love it! (Maybe that’s why I wouldn’t be a great teacher; I would edit a student’s paper so much that he or she would hate writing for the rest of his or her life). Once I figured out what I wanted to do, I realized I really needed to bulk up my resume with group activities and experiences.
I was already part of the Literary Interest Society so when we had our first meeting last semester, I decided to take my involvement up a notch by volunteering to be the Vice President. (That would look great on a resume, wouldn’t it?!) Okay, so I’m not that shallow to volunteer as tribute for mainly resume purposes; I promise, I have fun being VP of LIS! I even got to coordinate the Halloween Party last semester. (Ask TJ Hamil or Emily Lucia; they claim it was fun).
Sometime during the late months of last semester, I was asked to be the interim Editor-in-Chief for the McKendree Review. I consented and really got a chance to understand the stresses editors go through when putting out issues. Now, this semester, I am a co-Editor-in-Chief, and although the stress level hasn’t changed too much, I am grateful to be having this editing experience to help prepare me for the world beyond the McKendree gates.
Just when I thought editing for the McKendree Review and being VP for the LIS were the only things God had planned for me this semester, I quickly realized He had more in store for me.
So guess what happens?
An internship opportunity for a magazine company gets thrown my way (by three faculty and staff members of McK, I might add). If three emails about the same internship wasn’t some sort of sign, then I don’t know what is anymore. I applied for the internship, thinking, ‘There’s probably a lot of McKendree English students applying for this internship; I probably won’t get picked.’
Ha! Didn’t see that one coming did I?
Five students, myself included, were selected for the internship, and although I’ve only been writing articles for the magazine so far, I love the experience! Magazine publishing might not be something I want to do in the future, but it certainly gets my foot in the door!
I just want all of you to know how important experience is for the workforce. Employers, most of the time, probably could care less if you received Suma Cum Laude in college. Congrats to you, by the way, but what mostly counts in the career field is experience. The more experience you have with working with people or for people in the job field you desire, you would have a higher chance of being hired by an employer.
Like I said, three years ago, I never thought I would be Vice President for the LIS, a co-Editor-in-Chief for the McKendree Review and an intern for Metro East Parent Magazine.
Right now, it almost seems too surreal for me, but it’s real and it’s happening!
Trust me, I find ways to manage all of it on top of my classes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get my fair share of stress every now and then.
I can’t wait to see what next semester offers me. After all of the fuss I had created with my parents (and a few of my friends) when changing my major about four or so times in the past three years, I am surprised to say (and acknowledge) that I will most likely be able to graduate one full semester early!
Now how’s that for perseverance?