Career Services, a graduate student’s perspective

Mike Chase, Graduate Assistant Career Adviser – FAU

I came into the Florida Atlantic University Career Center very naïve of what I was getting myself into. During my undergraduate studies, I received  countless emails from the Career Center, and ignored them just as some students do. In hindsight, I really could have used the Career Center and its resources. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in a major of study that I did not see in my future. I joined the Higher Education Leadership master’s program and was in search of a graduate assistant-ship different from my undergraduate experience in fraternity sorority life and campus recreation. The Career Center seemed like uncharted water. First, I learned skills and competencies needed to perform the job, but it is other experiences that came along coupled by those skills that have benefited me vastly. I have learned a large amount about assisting students in finding their career path, writing resumes and cover letters, to honing student interview skills. I had also learned to live and love the process of student development that takes place due to the career center.

I had been able to impact people’s lives in different ways all through my undergrad. For the first time, I had a chance to impact their actual livelihood, the reason everyone goes to college. For two years I had the privilege of helping students ranging from freshmen to seniors, graduate students to non-traditional students returning or entering college for the first time. They did not just look at me as some young graduate student,  they treated me as a professional helping them achieve their goals. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a student or getting an email hearing they got the job or internship they wanted or got into their dream graduate program.

They may have done most of the work, but I like to think I had a little part in it.fau

Though I do not see myself continuing on to work in career services, I will not forget where I got my start. My true love lies in Campus Recreation, but my experiences as a Career Adviser have given me some extra tools in my arsenal. Because of the expertise I gained through career services, I was able to present at a regional National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) conference on “Marketing your Recreation Experience”. In addition, I am able to engage student staff in the recreation center on their professional development. I realize all of the students that work at the Rec Center do not plan to have a future in Rec, and the Career Center has given me the tools to have conversations with them about their future. We can address what skills they may be missing and ways that the career center can help them attain those skills.

I am extremely appreciative of my supervisor in the Career Center for doing that same thing with me. I have learned a great amount of skills from being a Career Adviser, but there were definitely holes in my armor when it came to being a campus recreation professional. She gave me the opportunity to explore what I may need professionally and we found activities and projects that could assist me on that journey. I will definitely use some of those same methods to assist students in their future. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been a graduate assistant in the FAU Career Center. And wherever I end up, I will push the importance of collaboration with Career Services until the end of time.