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Intern Tuesdays, Final Thoughts: Take Ownership of Your Career

intern tuesdays

In the past 10 weeks, I have talked to many professionals at PayScale and other companies around the United States. I had a great time learning about each of their career paths and hearing their advice to people—such as myself—who are about to enter the job market for the first time. I also found it interesting to learn what day-to-day work looks like in these positions.

As I begin my search for a job in the coming months, I will certainly draw from the knowledge and experiences of these people—and it is my hope that other people will benefit from what I’ve passed along in these blog posts.

The people I met with come from all sorts of backgrounds and work in different industries and roles, but I noticed a lot of similarity in the advice they shared with me. In my final post of the summer—before heading back to Santa Clara for my senior year—I want to summarize some of my takeaways from these interviews and share some last thoughts about this project.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Take Ownership of Your Career

Everyone I talked to this summer had some sort of pivot in their career paths—and every pivot was self-initiated. Even when you have mentors and managers to steer you in the right direction, at the end of the day it is up to you to create your own opportunities and make the most of your career.

It was also clear from my conversations that everyone I talked to was enthusiastic about and genuinely interested in their work. I think that their passion for their work is a large contributor to their success.

Use Setbacks as Learning Opportunities

Most people will experience a setback in their careers at some point. Some of these setbacks will be due to mistakes you’ve made and others will be out of your control. All you can do is move on and learn from the experience.

Never Stop Learning

Perhaps my most important takeaway from these conversations is that education and learning do not stop after college graduation. Although what you study in college is important, you are never locked into a specific career path if you are willing to devote time to learning new skills.

After talking to all these people, I now have much more confidence headed into my senior year of college and graduation next spring. Although I still don’t have a concrete plan for what’s next, it is comforting to know that everyone I talked to managed to have successful careers despite making at least one major career change. I hope that by continuing to follow my passions, I will find a career that I enjoy and am engaged by—even if that career doesn’t align with my current interests.

Catch up on Intern Tuesdays:

Announcing Intern Tuesdays With Jackson Sage

Scott Pogue Talks Teamwork and Career Development

Alex Armstrong Discusses Embracing Opportunities and Building Networks

Casey Herron on Choosing Data Science Over Medicine

Amanda Powter and Her Journey From Classics to Tech

Olivia Elee on Using Technology to Improve Global Health

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career so far? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.