By Zachary Weishar, ’14
I began my corps year with a clear career path in mind: I was going to take a gap year before attending graduate school and pursuing a career in journalism. Around the beginning of November, my career aspirations began to shift for several reasons. My lust to become a reporter began to fade. I can’t say why exactly, but I believe it had a lot to do with the fact that I observed the communications field from the outside for the first time in my life. While I was in school, I was so immersed in world of journalism that becoming anything other than a reporter seemed asinine. Serving with City Year allowed me to realize that I had other career paths to choose from–career paths that would offer me just as much (if not more) satisfaction than reporting the news.
The options seemed endless, and I entered a state of career paralysis; there were so many careers to choose from that I couldn’t commit to one. This is where City Year’s mentor program really proved valuable to me. I was paired with a professional who faced a similar dilemma as I did during her own service year: she too studied journalism and decided that she did not wish to pursue a career as a reporter during her corps year. Her passion for social media brought her to graduate school and helped her land a job as a social media manager. Eventually, she found her way into her dream job–running social media for Sam Adams. My mentor was an invaluable resource for me during this period of “what comes next” uncertainty. We met every month and talked about my career aspirations, my job search, and my corps year. She provided useful advice, and more importantly, told me when I was being unrealistic (something I dearly appreciated).
One of the best pieces of advice that she gave me was, “Uncertainty is alright. You don’t have to have every thing figured out career wise.” Once I internalized this message, I was motivated and able to begin applying to jobs. I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in public relations (PR) , so began applying to entry-level positions with the goal of learning more about the industry over the next few years.
I’ve accepted a position with Accion International as a communications assistant where I’ll be able to explore and learn more about PR. If I enjoy public relations, I may one day attend graduate school to deepen my knowledge of this field. If not, I will cross that bridge when I come to it. The resources that City Year provided for my career development, especially the mentor program, are a large part of my current career contentment. But I am confident, even excited, that I do not know what I will be doing in 5 years.