New Job, New Direction

Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.

I never intended on working in student services. I just kind of ended up there. A previous boss from college, who happens to be one of my most valued mentors, reached out to me one day regarding an opportunity to work for her. It came at a time in my life where I needed change so I decided to go for it. I knew she was the type of leader who would advocate for me, push me to grow and help shape me into a leader I would be proud of becoming. Now 3.5 years later, I am at another career crossroads and after much deliberation, have taken a new position as a User Interface Designer at S&T. I am very excited for the opportunities that lie ahead of me, and I look forward to diving into my new responsibilities. As I reflect on my growth over the last few years, I thought it was fitting to share just a few of the many things I have learned.

1. Let passion drive you
Passion isn’t the only thing that you need to be successful, but without it, you will fail much faster. Let passion be the driving force behind everything that you do. For the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to work for someone who lives this every single day. Seeing someone I admire live her passion so intently, made me realize that I can also live mine. Embracing your passion takes bravery. It takes hard work. It takes time. Being passionate doesn’t mean you are going to always have a good day, but it makes getting through those bad days easier. Let passion drive you to show up to work and be the best that you can be every single day.

2. Build relationships
People matter. Take the time to build relationships with people, and not just the ones that you think will help you get ahead. Ask someone how their day is going and then actually listen when they answer. Say good morning to the people who work for you. Smile when you pass a stranger in the hallway. Hold the door open for the person behind you. Talk to the student who is sitting alone. Send a thank you note to someone’s supervisor for someone you know did a great job. Make people feel like they matter. Be kind. Be understanding. Make the time. Listen, we are all busy, but strive to be intentional about connecting with people. Through the process, you might just change someone’s life.

3. Growth doesn’t happen in your comfort zone
Don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable. Explore and take risks within your role. Think outside of the box. Most importantly, stay teachable! No one likes a know-it-all!  It is fine to be comfortable with confidence, but never quit learning. Surround yourself with people who will help push you out of your comfort zone. Being a game changer requires you to be uncomfortable.

As a begin my new role as a User Interface Designer, I can look back upon my experiences in student services and confidently say I am not the same person I was a few years ago. My life has been forever impacted by the staff I’ve worked with, the students I’ve mentored, and the differences I’ve helped make on campus.

5 Responses

  1. Great blog post, Tara! It’s funny that you and I graduated with the same degree on the same day seven years ago and now we’re both becoming UI Designers on the same day. Guess S&T should start advertising UI Design as a potential career for TCH COMs!

  2. Mom

    As your mother my heart swells with pride as I’ve watched you grow into the young lady that you are. I’ve always tried to encourage you to reach for your dreams and you’ve always done just that regardless of the difficulties. I’m so very proud of you Tara!
    Love you,

  3. Lindsey Dunstedter

    What a lovely homage to Patty! I bet she will miss you as much as you will miss her.

    I am so proud of you, and I cannot wait to see you flourish in this next stage of your life. Congratulations Tara – you deserve all the best life has to offer!

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