It’s the end of another year, and today and tomorrow a few thousand NAU grads will start the next chapter in their lives. For NAU Career Development, this weekend is bittersweet, as we are “losing” four of own: three of our CareerJack Peer Mentors Carissa, Erika, and Katie, and our Graduate Assistant Derrin. There has been a lot of celebrating, emotion, and goodbyes over the last week, and they’re probably all ready to move on. But before that happens, I’d like to squeeze in one final (and very public) thank you and farewell.
Carissa and Erika were our two original CareerJacks, and have been on the team longer than anyone, including me and the rest of the full time staff. They’ve weathered mission changes, staff changes, and expansion of their roles, all with smiles, positivity, and enthusiasm for taking on more. They’ve been through an office move to our fantastic new space, and have been integral in helping us build a team identify and establishing Career Development as a robust program at NAU.
Carissa started this blog, which has now had over 30K (yes, thousand) views worldwide! Not a bad accomplishment! She’s run our social media campaigns for three years, making us “older folks” on the team more social media savvy. When we were woefully short staffed last summer, she graciously stepped up to be our first Lead CareerJack, helping me manage the team. She always knows what needs to get done before I can think of it. I’m excited for her research opportunity in New Zealand this summer and the beginning of her graduate studies at NAU next fall.
Erika was the team’s subject matter expert on Jobs for Jacks, our online recruiting system. If you’ve used Jobs for Jacks, you’ll know that this takes intuition, patience, persistence, great customer service skills, and the ability to laugh when you really just want to cry. As a member of our Employer Relationship Management team, she has interacted with countless individuals, convincing them to recruit our students despite our quirky recruiting system. She played a major role in organizing last fall’s Part Time Job Fair, which over 1400 students attended. If you’ve emailed email@example.com, she was likely the one who answered your email, or helped someone formulate their response. It’s been fun to watch her discover her love for international travel over the past two years and I look forward to seeing what direction her career will take her in.
Katie joined Career Development 2 ½ years ago, and often balanced her responsibilities here with a second job or internship. This year, she interned at a local organization working with families in crisis. They were so impressed by her that she’ll be working there upon graduation. She’ll also spend a portion of her summer living amongst and serving poor families in Mexico. Katie has already had, and will continue to have, an impact on the world. I will miss her attention to detail. She’s been our official team editor, up until her last hours working here yesterday. She played a big role in planning our first two annual Careers with Impact events and I hope she’ll come back next year as a panelist! She also did much of the heavy lifting behind our ever-growing website.
Derrin joined us last August, and quickly became a valued member of our team. He graciously navigated being on a team with 10 women, including letting us decorate his cube in tacky wedding décor to celebrate his engagement last November. Derrin flourished working one-on-one with students and received a lot of fantastic feedback from them after he helped them hone their resume writing and interview skills. Personally, I enjoyed the fact that Derrin, like me, is a hard core NFL (that’s professional football for the unfamiliar) fan who also appreciates the personal stories behind the players and coaches. I’ll miss our regular debriefs and have my fingers crossed that Derrin will find his dream job working with student athletes.
I’d originally planned to include copious amounts of advice in this post, but I took up too much space bragging about the awesomeness of these four. So I’ll keep it brief: Dream big, and don’t listen to those who tell you not to. Follow your heart, but make smart decisions. Cherish your family, sadly they won’t be with you forever. Collect friends, you can never have too many. Listen to your intuition, as it’s often your best source of information. Celebrate the successes, and remember how much you learn from the setbacks. Live each day to the fullest, laugh, love, and have fun. And never, ever, use an objective statement on your resume.
You have all been a huge part of my journey. I love and will miss each of you.