Brittany Everette is a 2013 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences who majored in Sociology and English. She serves as a College Advisor for the Virginia College Advising Corp, an AmeriCorps program.
Graduate from high school. Check! Graduate from a prestigious university. Check! Attend another prestigious university, gain a Juris Doctor degree and become a world-saving attorney…PAUSE.
When I made this checklist in high school, it seemed pretty straightforward. I was convinced that all I had to do was get into college and everything else would fall into place. What I did not know was how much things would change: the economy (Forbes magazine keeps telling not to go to law school), my goals (I’m still on the save-the-world kick, just not from the corner office of a corporation), and even my skills (turns out, I’m better at interacting with people than I thought). By the end of my second year, I knew I had to ditch the old checklist and listen to my current experiences and environment.
So what had I been up to over the past few years? Let’s see… I’d been studying sociology and saw social issues as undeniably real. I’d been participating in the Young Women Leaders Program, mentoring adolescent girls and preparing them for leadership roles within their schools and communities. I’d been volunteering at the University Career Services as a Career Peer Education, helping others gain access to the plethora of resources UCS has to offer. And I’d joined my sorority to be of service to all mankind.
I begin to notice some emerging patterns:
1) I believed in social justice
2) I liked working with the youth and…
3) I liked helping people recognize and utilize their potential
Now all I had to do was put all of these elements together. I already knew that my dream of big bucks and corporate law weren’t in tune with the kinds of services to which I was actually drawn.
When I started talking to the career counselors, they were using terms such as “public service,” mentioning job search engines like “Idealist,” and organizations like AmeriCorps. I became exposed to the endless opportunities in this so-called public service sector. AmeriCorps alone has hundreds of different programs that range from meeting environmental needs to helping to close the education gap. I am lucky enough to have found a place within the Virginia College Advising Corps that allows me to serve high school students with resources and advice to make higher education an obtainable goal.
As for the big bucks…let’s just say job security is a plus.
I may have put the corner office on hold but I have gained more than I ever thought possible through my public service position. I have made friends with passionate colleagues, formed mentoring relationships with rambunctious students and realized I prefer jeans to suits. And it’s only been a year! My adviser position with VCAC allows me to be a part of the solution to a social problem and to encourage and provide resources to the youth. Need I say more?
If you don’t think that the public service sector is career worthy, talk to your career counselors and the people around you ( HoosOnline/UCAN). I’m sure their stories will tell you otherwise. Don’t think there’s a public service position out there that fits you? I dare you to type your keywords into CavLink (shameless plug) or Idealist.org and let the plethora of job listings wash down your results screen…