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Posted by Cerniglia, Courtney M - August 5, 2013 - Courtney C., Students

Over the past few weeks I’ve been gathering some information from my mentors. My question to them, “What did you think you were going to be, what are you now, and what was the best thing you did while in college?”

The more people I talk to, the more people it seems have started out doing something they aren’t pursuing now. Forks in the road have led them in different directions than where they started. Which is interesting, since what students like me are studying now may not be what we do in the future. It’s a good thing to keep in mind, and solidifies the idea to take advantage of diverse opportunities and explore multiple interests or other fields of study.

However, some people did stay with what they started out doing, and are very successful! Their passions and interests in college led to them now owning a business in the field or being in high-level positions. The contrast is interesting, and it leaves hope for those of us students who are really passionate about what we study and nervous about job prospects, or those of us who may not know where we’ll end up specifically.

Everyone I interviewed had attended at least some college (minimum two years), most graduated and another handful went on to receive their master’s in various fields.

Colleges Represented: UW-Stevens Point, University of Minnesota, UNC Greensboro, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison, Madison Area Technical College (MATC), Marquette University and others.

Sociology with concentration in criminology, minor business administration now an office manager:
Follow your dreams and what you are passionate in. Life is a journey and adventure. It’s not where you end up, it’s the paths you took to get there.

Electronic technology and drafting now an electrical engineer in industrial controls:
Remember that you are the NEWBEE … people will treat you like that until you show them different.  You are being tested. Always volunteer. Shows what you are made of. Always smile even when you don’t feel like it. People remember that! 

Business administration and now owner of marketing company:
Major in something that will help you get a job, minor in something you love. 

Agronomy and art history, graduated with Meeting and Event Management–first graduating class in the nation! Now a manager of international events:
I should have anticipated that I would not end up graduating with this degree when in my Ag 100 class I was the only student that didn’t raise my hand when the professor asked, “Who here has grown up on a farm?”

Business administration and now owner of a stoneware company:
Hard work and a little bit of luck alongside great parents who support and help you achieve your goals.

Psychology with teaching certificate in math and computer science, now a programmer analyst for insurance:
Logical thinking, problem solving and communication skills have been very useful to me in my career. It also doesn’t hurt to know how to work and play well with others.

Ancient Greek and Latin and now a religious studies professor:
Finding ways to try out whatever interests you (from classes to jobs to internships to places) while in college so you can make informed decisions about what comes after.

Chemistry and electrical engineering, now CEO of own electric company and other businesses:
Don’t give up. Life is work and success will find those who are persistent.

On way to doctorate, enjoyed bedside manner and connecting with patients, became a Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) in intensive care unit (ICU):
You’ll need to work hard at whatever you choose because school only prepares you to have the basic skills for any job; so much of your profession you learn through on-the-job training and experience. And because of that, you’ll always need to be a learner–to seek out new knowledge and new situations and challenges, to grow and continue to be stimulated by your profession.

I hope these snapshots inspire you to do great things! Good luck on your endeavors here at UW-Stevens Point.


Courtney Cerniglia is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in business administration and Spanish.

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