Senior year of college was a lot like third grade for me.
The same way my teacher, Ms. Sweeney, asked my class to draw pictures of what we’d be when we grew up, senior year was full of the same question. So, what is it that you’re going to do?
I had always shrugged it off in elementary school. Every time I was assigned to draw a picture of my future profession, it felt like blindly throwing darts at a map. Doctor, veterinarian, teacher – they all sounded fun. My parents and teachers did a great job of making me feel like I really could be anything I wanted. And while I always appreciated their confidence, the choices were almost paralyzing. Sitting at my desk wondering what career to draw, I’d have this sneaking suspicion I was the only one in my class without that one dream. How did everyone else already have theirs figured out? Surely it wasn’t that easy.
But as a kid, I never worried much about it. I always knew that it was one of those things you just know when you got older.
But then college was almost over, and I realized. Ohh. I have to actually choose now?
Fall semester of senior year busy enough with a full classes load, a self-inflicted punishment for switching majors three times and attempting to graduate on time. Amidst the questions from family and professors about post-graduation plans, someone encouraged me to look into the Arkansas Fellowship, and I applied. Not only did I get to interview with several Arkansas-based companies as part of the application process, I learned about Collective Bias, one of the host companies. Their unique approach to the Fellowship experience was exactly what I was looking for. I could spend the first year of the two-year commitment rotating through each department of the company. In the second year, I’d work with HR to find where I fit best and work there for a year. After the interview, I was lucky enough to get paired with them – I was thrilled!
I started my time at Collective Bias, and quickly realized there were jobs I never knew existed. Even if I had known about them, I definitely couldn’t have drawn a picture of them as a third grader. As I rotated through departments, I was able to simply learn about each one and how I might fit there. It only took 6 months for me to grow into a permanent role on one of the teams, and I have worked there through the rest my Fellowship. I think the flexibility of the Fellowship relieved me of the pressure I felt about choosing the “right” job.
Looking back on those elementary school assignments, and even the stress I felt senior year, I’ve learned to appreciate the indecisiveness I felt. Being open to new possibilities and ideas is strength that’s welcomed in my workplace. It represents a willingness to learn and evolve as an employee. And while I’ve found the perfect place for me right now, I hope I continue see future endeavors as I did in third grade: a blank page that could turn into anything.