I can still vividly remember my first trip to SeaWorld. My family and I were visiting my grandparents in Florida, and my parents decided to forgo our usual trip to Disney World and visit SeaWorld instead. I was devastated, as most eight-year-olds would probably be, at the thought of not getting my autograph book filled with signatures from the characters, and missing out on Cinderella’s castle. I remember being sulky for the first few minutes, still thinking of that Daisy Duck hat I wouldn’t get, before realizing that the animals we were seeing were amazing. Then, I set my eyes on the manatees, and from that moment on, it was my greatest aspiration to become a marine biologist.
A few years later, my career choice changed to doctor, and then teacher, and then back to marine biologist again. I’m sure, as parents, it’s easy to remember your own children going through something similar. I was still struggling with my career path when I entered college, and though I did eventually find the route I wanted to take, I often wished that I had the opportunity to talk with someone with real knowledge of the careers I was interested in pursuing. At Carnegie Mellon, we have developed a program that can help students who have questions, and require guidance in finding the right direction.
Tartan Talks informational interviews, give students the opportunity to speak with professionals already working in a career or field of interest expressed by the student. 30-minute- to 1-hour-long Skype or phone conversations allow students to ask questions about their field of interest to someone who has first-hand knowledge. Students simply need to fill out the registration form, and they will be matched with an employer based on their mutual industry or field of interest. There are currently almost 200 employers signed up to talk with your students about what it is they do and what the job or career field is really like. The talks go year-round so students can schedule whatever time is convenient for their busy schedules.
Tartan Talks is an excellent opportunity that will allow your students to have conversations that will build the confidence of knowing that they’re headed in the right direction, or the push that they need to start considering moving on to a different career path. Encourage your students to sign-up and take part in one of these enlightening conversations.