Reconsidering the future


Soon graduation will be here and we will take the next step in the journey and pursue our desired careers. This term I have been coming to the scary but liberating realization that I may not want to work in the public relations field.

When I came to the University of Oregon in 2007, I had intended on getting a business degree but wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after graduation. In looking for other degree options I came across public relations and thought it sounded like a perfect fit for me. In my PR classes I was engaged and finally enjoying what I was learning. Working in the PR field has been a different experience.

I was told that PR was a writing intensive field but I didn’t realize just how much of your day to day tasks are writing assignments. I love my internship and have learned so much in this short amount of time but I am not sure this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I always thought I would be perfectly content working a 9 to 5 desk job, now that I’ve tried it, I am not so sure. This is the scariest thought ever. I’ve spent so long working toward this goal, how can I just give up on it? I can’t just completely change my plan, right?

If there’s one thing I’ve realized this term it’s the fact that I am not sure what I want to do with my life, even though just a few short months ago I was sure I did. I’ve decided that what I need some time to reevaluate my life and what I want to do with it. There is a good chance that I will come back to the public relations field but I’ve decided that it’s OK if I don’t.   

What have your experiences been this term? Have you realized your field is exactly where you want to be or have you discovered that it may not be for you? Do you ever see yourself switching careers down the road?

Shannon Sloan

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14 Responses to Reconsidering the future

  1. asharonson says:

    Shannon, it is perfectly normal to be feeling this way. In fact, this is the time in our lives where we can determine what it is we really want to do. It is very important to make sure you start off in the right field, so you don’t end up somewhere you don’t want to be, ten years from now. If you’ve found that this field isn’t for you, that’s OK. Maybe there is a related industry that you could look into, that way you still can use your degree. Good luck, Shannon, I’m sure you’ll be great at whatever you do!

  2. michelletag says:

    If you had never participated in this program, then you would have never found that out! I think now is the time to do your reevaluating. I feel like I’m in the right place, and it didn’t take until recently for me to figure that out. I also think writing skills are a huge part of ANY job, so having a degree in PR is helpful. Good luck with the rest of your term Shannon!

  3. Michelle has a point, if you would have never participated in this program, you would’ve never found out that this wasn’t the field for you; but it could also be that maybe you haven’t found a place within the public relations industry that you like yet. You could always try another internship or two if you feel like giving PR another chance, but if you truly feel like this isn’t where your professional life lies- that’s totally okay too. You have a degree and that alone will open doors for you. I hope you find a place in PR, but if not- I wish you all the best in finding your niche. I know you will, you’re more resilient and resourceful than you give yourself credit for, Shannon 🙂 !

  4. wilsonemily says:

    Again, if you hadn’t done this internship, you wouldn’t have discovered that maybe PR isn’t what’s right for you at this point in your life. I think it’s fine to change your plan; you’ve only just graduated from college and you have a degree, which is something to be proud of. I decided to switch my plan too my junior year and am happy I decided to do so; something that makes you happy is something you won’t regret! Good luck on the rest of the term and I hope you find a career track that is not only worthwhile professionally but personally as well!

    Emily

  5. Heavy, Shannon… heavy. Take heart though, you’re not the only one who is second guessing where they want to see themselves in 10 years. I’m experiencing a little bit of the same thing. I’m still solid on my 5 to 10 year plan, but I feel compelled to explore some more before I settle in to my ultimate career path. At the end of the day, I want to be a winemaker/vineyard owner. Right now, I feel drawn to trying my hand at some marketing and communications work. While it would still be in the wine industry, it isn’t exactly dead-on with where I want to go. I’ve found that combined experience can really make you a better employee at the end of the day, though. I say, Get Out There! Try some of the things you’re thinking about trying and see if it leads you back to the same place, or even helps you find your niche in the PR world. Maybe you’re cut out to do a very specific kind of PR for a special industry…. don’t know until you try, right?
    ~ Anneka

  6. agavette says:

    I’ve definitely had some doubts about my field of study–I was kind of a commitment phobe when it came to choosing a major and trying not to feel pigeon-holed if I ever wanted to change my mind. Working at a real publication has been eye-opening in both good and not so good ways. I think it’s really good that this internship has given you some perspective on what you want to do. You say “for the rest of your life,” and I think that’s how a lot of us see our careers. However, the reality is that we probably won’t be doing the same thing for the rest of our lives–how many times did Linda Favero say that we’ll switch careers? Four-six times or something? Well, part of me gets anxious about hearing that, but another part of me takes comfort in knowing that our career future is not totally fixed–we can always change our minds. You’re just ahead of the curve in figuring that out!

  7. I can only imagine how you feel, thinking you want one thing but then finding that you don’t. As everyone else is saying, I’m so happy that you discovered this during your internship. I’d imagine the struggle would be worse if it were your first job and you were stuck till the end of your contract. I’m sure there are many ways to use a PR degree. Effective communication is pivotal to PR but also to many other careers. You’ve worked your butt off to get to this point and would be invaluable to any office. Good luck on your career search!

  8. rkaapu says:

    Shannon,
    I wouldn’t worry too much about this not being what you wanted to do. Life is always about learning and figuring out what you really DO want to do. I have been lucky to find out, through this internship that PR is the right place for me, and I am glad you are realizing this now (before you are elbows deep in a career you don’t want to be in). In situations like this I always think of the famous words by Baz Lurhmann “dont feel guilty if you dont know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know, didnt know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year old’s I know still dont.” So with that in mind keep your chin up and find your real passion.

  9. Bree says:

    Shannon, I know exactly how you feel! I spent my whole college career thinking that I wanted to work for a magazine, but now I’m not so sure. I love design, and I hope to one day get a job as an editorial designer, but now I’ve realized so many other options for me. After touring the PR agencies, I’ve realized that I might be interested in that as well. My head is filled with so many crazy ideas for my future. I, too, need a break. Some time to think about the next step is a great idea. Let me know if you want to grab a drink and discuss the future together. Ha.

  10. Alysha Beck says:

    I think it’s good that you’re open to reconsidering a job in PR. Like Josh said, after the PDXSX some people realize they don’t actually want to pursue a career in their internship field. And I think that’s totally okay. It’s better to reconsider now so you aren’t stuck in a job you don’t really enjoy down the road! And I don’t think it even matters what degree you graduated with because the skills you have can be used in so many kinds of jobs.

  11. zolfaghari says:

    Shannon, half of me wants to say I’m sorry that you had to realize this at this point, but the other half of me is happy for you. It’s better to realize that this career path isn’t for you now rather than 5 years down the road, when you’ve full invested yourself in it. You’re still young, still a fresh brain, and have a bundle of resources at your disposal to help guide you. I recommend reaching out to any mentors that you have and listen to what they may think is a suitable lane for you. Best of luck.

  12. shannonkluss says:

    I believe that one of the most valuable aspects of the PDXSX program and our internships is realizing not what we want to do, but figuring out exactly what we DON’T want to do. We are so lucky to have this transition time between course books and multiple choice tests to making decisions and meeting deadlines for clients to figure out our future. If you’re not happy now, you won’t be in a couple of months, or worse, a couple of years. And that’s ok!

  13. Now is the best time to be making decisions like deciding another field may be what is best for you and it’s always a good idea to reevaluate your goals and make sure your career track is still where you want to be headed. I personally have changed my career goals slightly and am more interested in an agency environment than I thought I was going into this program and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be exposed to new opportunities that I hadn’t considered. It’s never too late to change your mind!

  14. pdxsx says:

    Shannon, I applaud your self-reflection. The bottom line is, having good writing and communication skills are invaluable to a career, so even if you decide to go outside the realm of PR, you can use those skills in another capacity. You’ll be great at whatever you choose!

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