Don't Wait For A Four-Year Degree To Start Your Career, Get Started Now

Don't Wait For A Four-Year Degree To Start Your Career, Get Started Now

When you start your career is up to you, not when you graduate, or when someone grants you permission.

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Since I was a little girl, I wanted to be in the fashion world. My desire for a long time was to become a fashion designer because I loved to sketch clothes and put different outfits together. For that time, that made sense to me. As I got older, I realized how much work it would take to design clothes on a daily basis, being one to two seasons ahead of the world, that just seemed too far of a dream. I am now attending college to receive a fashion merchandising degree to pursue a career in fashion. This decision, I can say is one of the best and most challenging decisions I've made in my life, but definitely worth it.

Growing up I didn't have a lot growing up and I learned the value of appreciating what you have instead of focusing on what you didn't. I was raised with an understanding that having big dreams is a great thing and if there is something that I was passionate about, especially for a career, then I need to make sure to do everything I can to get where I needed and desired to be in the future. I applied this to my dream of becoming a part of the fashion industry. All my life it has been the only thing I've ever truly wanted. I believed and still believe I will/am a part of what is known as the fashion Industry.

As social media grew into what it is today, I soon began to realize that there are so many other people going after the same thing I am, and I started to question if I was even good enough to want this all for myself. I questioned if I could ever stand out and be someone in this giant business. My mom always tried to tell me how I should've started earlier and younger so I would have that go for me because there were so many kids doing exactly what I had been dreaming to do already. But I eventually made a conscious decision to push through and find my voice in the industry, believing in the goals I had for myself and my life.

With these goals in mind, I knew it meant I had to work towards them and that is exactly what I started to do. As silly as it may sound, I began to watch "Project Runway" and "America's Next Top Model." Yes, they are reality shows but I took the time and still do, to gather information and educate myself on what is happening in the industry with keeping up with the world of modeling, social media, photography, film, acting, and so much more, just so I can be the best I can be in the world of fashion.

Starting at 16 years old, I was working in retail to build up work experience early giving me more time to prepare for what was ahead of me. Starting my first job and being in retail, really opened my eyes to how the business works on a day to day level. when it comes to just the general idea of customer service and how important it is to have great customer service so you can create a great bond with people which then creates a sense of loyalty between the customer and the brand. My first job gave me an idea of all of the hard work it takes to just keep a store up to date and all of the responsibilities that come with being a salesperson.

Then, after graduating from high school, I moved to a different store remaining in retail, where now it was learning about the branding of a store and who there overall target market was, and that was a great period of growth and education of the everyday movement of fashion. There is became about presenting myself as the brand and showing the customers the brand experience when they walked into the store just by the way I may greet them or the clothes I was wearing. This was all again costumer focused of course. Understanding the consumer is one of the biggest things I have learned through my retail experience and that will not be true. Throughout the time at being at that particular store, I grew a voice in the brand itself, they wanted me to stay and work my way up in the business.

That showed me not only what you know, but who you know, is very valuable when trying to up and forward.

Now headed to college as a freshman, I had some experience under my belt and felt I had a good foundation, possibly enough to really have a chance to stand out. Let's just say I was wrong. After my first semester, I realized I honestly really wasn't pushing myself in the industry. I wasn't applying my knowledge. Something I will never forget that most fashion people say is that "you need to make a name for yourself before you need a name for yourself" and it all clicked for me. I needed to start doing things and using what I know to make a name for myself and help me have my voice in this world. So, I went straight to social media and youtube to figure out how to brand myself and how to get into the business of becoming an influencer.

I am now closing in on my second year of being a fashion student and I have learned more about the fashion industry than I could've ever imagined. I have started a youtube channel, branded myself as a fashion and lifestyle influencer on social media, I communicate with brands and fashion experts for advice and opportunity. Every day I am doing something in preparation for when I do graduate and to promote my career right now, because that kind of thinking can actually be what gets you that job you want right after you do get that degree in my case.

What you do now and the early stages of life can and will affect your career path in some way and how you go about it and when you start that path is up to you and no one else. I chose to take my first steps into my career because my career is not in the future, it's right now. Instead of being reactive with our careers, we should be proactive to prepare for what is ahead.

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Yes, I Want To Be A Teacher

"You know you don't make that much money, right?"
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Yes, I want to be a teacher. Yes, I know what the salary of a teacher is like. Yes, I know that people will view my future career as “easy." No, I would not want any other job in the world.

I am sure that I am not the only future educator who has had enough with hearing all the critiques about becoming a teacher, we are tired of hearing all the negative aspects because it's obvious that the positives will ALWAYS outweigh those judgmental negative comments.

So, why do I want to be a teacher? I am sure that I speak for many other future teachers when I say that I am not doing it for the salary, benefits, or even the summer vacation (although that is a great plus!).

I want to be a teacher because I will be able to wake up on Mondays and actually be excited. Saturday and Sunday will be a nice break to relax, but I know that I will be ready to fill up my apple-shaped mug with coffee on Monday morning and be ready for a day full of laughs and new lessons for my students for the upcoming week.

I want to be a teacher because I get to have an impact on tomorrow's leaders. No, I don't mean that I'm predicting my future student to be the president of the United States (but, hey, that would be a pretty cool accomplishment). I mean that I have the job to help students recognize that they have the power to be a leader in and out of the classroom.

I want to be a teacher because I don't want an easy day. Challenges are what push me to greatness and success. Although many people think teaching is an easy profession, I know that it isn't easy. It's very hard, every day at every moment. But it is worth it when a student finally understands that math problem that stumped them for a while and they have a huge smile from ear to ear.

I want to be a teacher because I want to work with kids. I mean, come on, what else is greater than a kid having fun and you're the reason why? A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a child being excited and having fun while learning is worth a million.

I want to be a teacher because I don't want a high salary. If I really cared about making a six-figure income, I would have chosen a different profession. Teaching is not about the check that I bring home every week or two, it's about what I learn and the memories that I make, the memories that I get to share with my family at dinner that night.

SEE ALSO: To The Teacher Who Helped Shape Me

I want to be a teacher because there is nothing else in this world that I'd rather do for the rest of my life. Sure, there may be other jobs that are rewarding in more ways. But to me, nothing can compare to the view of a classroom with little feet swinging back and forth under a desk from a student learning how to write their ABCs.

Teaching may not be seen as the perfect profession for everyone, but it is the perfect profession for me.

Cover Image Credit: TeacherPop

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If An Opportunity Scares You, Take It Anyways

If you think you aren't ready, you'll learn along the way.

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Life has a funny way of throwing things at us when we're least expecting, and when we're least ready, for that matter. And for that reason, a lot of opportunities go wasted.

They go wasted because we "aren't ready" or we're "too scared" or we think "we aren't prepared."

Quite frankly, too bad.

Take that opportunity. You won't know how brave you truly are if you do not take advantage of an opportunity that scares you.

If you are offered this opportunity, odds are somebody thinks you are qualified for it and not only just qualified but they think that you are suitable for this position.

I came across a quotation a while back by Richard Branson that states

"If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you're not sure you can do it, then say yes - then learn how to do it later."

And if that ain't the truth...

Lately, life hasn't been too kind. It's been throwing bad news after bad snowball of junk at me week after week. It's been so bad that when good news comes or a great opportunity, it's almost weird and I'm not sure how to go about the news or opportunity.

Let us recap: I'm a full-time engineering college student working part-time to help pay off tuition and prepare for living on my own. I'm graduating in five-years when it should have been four, but I'm chugging along. I still live with my parents because, honestly, it wouldn't make sense to move out now and live farther away from campus.

Suddenly, good news came through. I found a house to rent for summer in my dream city and I got a part-time job a few weeks back. My grades have been so much better even though I'm stressed as all heck and still barely have time to finish school work before it's due and another assignment comes whipping around the corner at full speed.

Even though this was all news I was hoping for, I did not know how to take it when the time actually came. I was nervous, terrified.

My new job; I went on three days of training then was sprung out on my own for my first seven-hour shift by myself. And when I say myself, I mean I'm the only one working in the store for the whole shift. It's slightly nervewracking.

The house; I had found an affordable house in my dream city to rent out for the summer months. It has parking, washer, and dryer, everything but the bedroom is furnished. Sure, it's a lot smaller than I had hoped, but it is what I can afford at the moment.

I still don't have an internship lined up, and I have no idea what this summer will entail. But, I'm going for it.

I have a bad habit of just jumping at things and figuring them out along the way.

I buy plane tickets months in advance then figure out where I'm staying a week before my flight takes off.

I sign myself up for running races and swim meets hours away and figures out the day before who in my family will go with me or how I'll get there.

It all seems to have worked out in the past, right?

So far, yes, it hasn't been too bad.

Now, these opportunities have been minor as compared to has what just been thrown at me. I mean, a house, for the whole summer. This is my first time living on my own and thousands of miles away from my parents. To say I'm nervous is low-balling the emotions I've been feeling.

I've been pushing aside the "what if a better house comes along?" and the "what if I can't find a job for summer?" I've been pushing aside all of the 'what if's' because this is what I have wanted for years, and I'm going to make it happen.

If an opportunity ever seems too big or like you aren't ready, you would not have been proposed the opportunity if someone or some part of you did not think you were ready.

Take that chance.

Take that leap.

Learn along the way.

You'll regret not taking it.

If it doesn't go as planned, it was a lesson learned, but you'll never know if you do not try.

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