The best piece of advice I have received regarding my career, came from my grade 12 English teacher who told my class, “have a plan, but be flexible”. What he was saying was that in our future careers, we should have a plan – know what we like, what we’re good at, and how we will achieve career goals – while still being open to change and different opportunities.
I believe this is an important message for students and young adults who are entering their careers, because in the pressure we feel to have our lives planned from a young age, many students can get caught up in a plan which they feel is set in stone. Having a plan is important to ensure you are setting goals and achieving professional milestones, but it is important to be open to different opportunities, because you never know what hidden interests and talents you may have.
For me, this was an important lesson, as I was unsure of what I wanted to do with a degree in business. Because of this advice, I have made my career plan, including the steps necessary to achieve end goals, but I have utilized the resources available through both my own network and the University of Ottawa to engage in new experiences and open myself up for new opportunities.
My advice to students is to make a career plan and determine how you will achieve it, but never close any doors for differing opportunities. Use the resources from the Career Centre, the Student Services Centre, Telfer clubs, and more to diversify your professional repertoire and gain new experiences!