As a career counselor, receiving an email like the one above – unsolicited – is the greatest type of update one who works to “empower individuals to reach their idea of success” can receive.
I began working with Daniel in March 2015 when he called Career Services to ask what he could do with a Master’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety with an Environmental Management concentration. He explained that his undergraduate degree was in geography, which gave him “an understanding on how nature operates.” Based on the education and experience gained through a variety of jobs, such as volunteer coordinator, residential counselor and geography instructor, his involvement working with people and the environment “increased [his] desire to learn how to ‘play safe’ with nature,” which he considers “a precious gift from God.”
Fast-forward to August 2015. What a joyous surprise to receive word he had found employment that was not only in his field of interest, but came with incentives such as certifications, professional training and a true sense of applying education to action. Daniel is a spot-on example of success upon shifting career interests via education and utilizing the student services offered by Columbia Southern University to gain the skills needed to land his dream job. I recently reached out to Daniel and asked what kind of advice he would have for others making a career shift, trying to find direction upon graduation, and what it’s like working in his industry.
Although he was still completing his final classes, he was able to share his experience finding direction after studying geography (a seemingly completely different field) to completing a master’s degree in OSH/EM. Once he explained the connection, however, the two degrees made perfect sense together. “Being a friend of the Earth and nature lover, I’ve always wanted to be part of those who preserve the beauty of natural diversity…one way to achieve this [was] by pursuing a degree in occupational safety and health (OSH).’’ Daniel goes on to explain, “Why OSH? Environmental pollution is best prevented at the source, which is why safe industrial operations are needed.”
Daniel was in a position many CSU students face. He had returned to school and was pursuing a new occupational calling. When asked about some of the obstacles he had to overcome while attending school and making a career shift, he observed, “One obstacle was limited time to tackle my school work, and develop my resume, and then fill out lengthy applications.” His solution to overcoming the challenges of being a student and a job seeker at the same time was “time management and setting targets.”
His ultimate secret to success was “determination through prayer and a positive mind set.” Another aspect of his accomplishments derived from engaging with the CSU Student and Alumni Engagement department.
“Career counselors have been there for me at every step in the quest for a job. [They] provided me with useful websites where jobs / internships in my field of study are posted and encouraged me to increase my network and increased my chances of meeting the right people and opportunities.”
Career Development Counselor