OPINION: Importance of exploring your career path

Kristi Shields, a sophomore media studies major, from Salt Lake prepares equipment and does a sound check prior to filming the Dixie Sun Newscast. Shields expresses how vital it is to explore the career paths you are considering and be able to know that the career you choose you will enjoy and is suitable for you. Photo by Jessica Johnson.

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  When it comes to choosing a career path, the most important thing to consider is how much you will enjoy the work.

  The most crucial thing you can do to test your interest in your desired career path is to get hands-on experience.

  I am an aspiring journalist; I love researching interesting topics, getting down to the nitty-gritty details of current issues, and investigating any breaking news incidents.

  The best decision I could have made is joining the Dixie Sun News. Every day, I am doing a job I enjoy. I love researching, talking to people and writing. This is my passion and I am lucky to have found it early on in my life.

  With that being said, it is not easy. It’s a stressful and hectic job. When I first started, I fell flat on my face – metaphorically speaking. It took a while to get the hang of it. Despite my busy schedule, interviews and tight deadlines, I love every minute of it, even when I hate it.

  Another way I’ve further explored the profession is going to journalism conferences or boot camps, which provide a variety of workshops teaching you about different aspects of writing. The boot camps were helpful to me in high school because the other students and I were given a fake breaking news story; we had to talk with “police” and “witnesses” about what happened and write a story from the information we gathered. I was able to get a feel for what to expect when reporting on a real-life event.

  I recently shadowed an investigative journalist at The Salt Lake Tribune. Because of this experience, I was able to observe how an actual newsroom functions. He walked me through different stories he was working on and his process in researching the information he needed. He was able to answer any questions I had and give insight on stories I was currently working on or had written in the past.

Every day, I am doing a job I enjoy. I love researching, talking to people and writing. This is my passion and I am lucky to have found it early on in my life.

Kristi Shields, DSN Staff

  While this was a great opportunity, it didn’t feel how I thought it would. I expected to walk out feeling more prepared, confident about my future and ready to conquer it. But the truth is, I felt the opposite. I felt defeated, worried about being successful, worried that I’m not good enough – any negative thought you can think of.

  I am not as prepared for my career as I thought I was, but I don’t think anyone ever really is. No matter how much you prepare for something, you won’t be fully prepared until you’re put into the situation. All we can do is keep moving forward and remaining positive.

  Despite the doubtful thoughts about my future, I am still excited and ready to pursue my journalism career. My visit to The Salt Lake Tribune gave me more things to think about than I anticipated. For example, I definitely need to get experience with sports writing, I need to delve deeper into the stories I write and I need to further my knowledge about creating videos.

  Preparation is important because you can catch these concerns and questions sooner rather than later.

  If you’re not sure what interests you as a career, take a variety of classes to find what you’re passionate about. College is the best way to explore your options, rather than going through a major you’re not sure of and ending up in a job you’re unhappy about.

  Students, it is up to you to find the job you love. Do everything you can to prepare yourself for your profession. Find ways to explore, talk with professionals, do your research, and get an internship in that job field. You don’t need to end up in a career that makes you unhappy. Your future is in your hands.

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