Learn by Doing
Make connections that lead to hands-on experience in your field at Nebraska.
The day I moved into summer housing, I had to take out a loan for the very first time and do financial business by myself. I think that was the day that I realized I’m a lot different than I was when I first came to college. When I first got here, I was strictly here for the classes. I didn’t have a job—I didn’t have anything. I opened up my refrigerator, saw I had no food and I realized I had to grow up. I needed to learn how to take care of myself and to figure out what I want to do. That day kick-started me into wanting to grow into a better person.
I decided to start putting myself out there. At first, I was really shy and I didn’t talk to anybody, but I started challenging myself to open up to new people. I joined the swim team this year. It didn’t go very well, but at least I tried it out.
I try to do something different every year now. I started getting involved with different clubs, but not just ones I thought would be easy or that I’d be good at. I joined ones where I thought I could learn something new, and I ended up making a lot of friends who have opened up doors for more opportunities. To me, it matters less about the activity and more about the people who are in the activity and the community that’s built through it.
I also stopped being a silent bystander in classes. I learned that in order to broaden your horizons and grow as a person, you have to take the step to learn about other people. That’s how I ended up getting my internship. I told a film professor that I was curious and had goals, so she helped me get a job at Vision Maker Media with PBS.
Learning through Real-World Experience
Now that I’m working in my field, I’m realizing that this might not be what I want to do with the rest of my life. But figuring that out is all about trial and error, and being open to learning new stuff. When I first got the job, I was working as their social media coordinator, putting out videos on Facebook and Twitter and editing their trailers for YouTube. That was fun, but the content creation part was not my thing. So I spoke up and my supervisor at PBS helped me try out different jobs to help me figure out what I do like. That experience wasn’t a waste though. It’s really helpful and lets me grow as an adult and a professional. Even if it’s not what I ultimately want to do, my internship will be the cornerstone of my resume and has given me a lot of experience.
My resume has expanded drastically and my work ethic is incredibly different than it was when I was in high school. My self-determination in doing homework and my need for knowledge has really changed. In high school, I remember reading books and just memorizing them for the test without really taking in the material. Now, I’m actually buying books, so I want to keep them because the content matters to me. All the classes that I’m taking matter to me and matter to my future.
I know I still have to work hard, that things aren’t going to be given to me or always go the way I want them to, but I’ve noticed that they’re a lot more likely to when I put myself out there and take advantage of different opportunities. I’m really prepared for getting a good job now because of working with PBS and because of the connections I’ve made with people here. Without Nebraska, I wouldn’t have those connections. I don’t think that I would have been as prepared for my field of work as I am now.