Written by Berenice P, Psychology ’22
“What I Did with My CAS Major”, Fall 2019
Like many of us, I came into college thinking that I would use my CAS degree right out of college, at my first job. Working at the Career Center has taught me that that is RARELY the case. Many fall into jobs that are a stretch from what they majored in! The UP alumni at the “What I Did with My CAS Major” event this semester were perfect examples:
- Mikaela Cole- a History major- is currently working at Happylucky as a Talent Acquisition Specialist
- Lisa McMahan- an English and German studies major – is working as a Senior Social Media Specialist at OHSU
- Mark Mohammadpour- Organizational communication major- founded his own company Chasing the Sun
- Amy Kintner- an English language and German studies major- working at Tuft & Needle as a Software Developer
The only alumni working within her degree is:
- Erin Dirksen- a Theology major and Sociology minor working as a Theology professor and Director of campus ministry as Seton Catholic
Crazy how 1/5 of the alumni on the panel used their major specifically to land their dream job! According to our Career and Program Advisor Max, nationally 40% of college graduates find a job UNRELATED to their major. That number is even higher for liberal arts majors. Which doesn’t mean that the liberal arts shouldn’t be pursued, if anything they should be pursued more as it opens up a world of possibilities! As our CAS alumni pointed out, they used the skills their learned while pursuing their liberal arts degrees to land their job. Those skills included:
- Teamwork: building relationships and trust
- Communication: being able to communicate openly and well
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Juggling multiple priorities and deadlines
These skills are what made them stand out as job candidates, which resulted in not only landing the job but moving up in their position. Mikaela, a 2018 UP graduate, said that as a History major, she learned ALL the skills employers are looking for, which gave her a HUGE leg up when applying to jobs. Lisa also said that being an English major gave her an advantage in her job as a social media specialist!
Overall the most impacting takeaways from this event were:
You are not limited to any one job or career!
- Mikaela shared her experience in having various temp. jobs after college and how that was beneficial in landing her the role she has today.
- All the alumni had various differing jobs throughout their post-grad journey before landing at their current position.
Major ≠ Career!
- Don’t feel limited to your field of study! Use the skills acquired from your college experience to finesse your way into that dream job! Demonstrate that you have various valuable skills under your belt that would benefit the company you are applying to.
- Amy, who is now working as a software engineer, used her language learning skills (German studies major) and related that to coding! She stated that learning how to code was very similar to learning a new language, which ultimately made her career transition very smooth.
Take advantage of the UP community before and after graduation!
- Mark, who founded his own company, made note that he wished he would’ve taken more advantage of the UP community, before and after graduation. He didn’t realize how useful and powerful the UP community was, until years later, regretting that he didn’t use it to its fullest advantage earlier in his career.
Lastly, take your time in figuring out what you want to do, don’t feel like you must figure it out exactly after you graduate.
- As Mark stated:
If you don’t find that career the moment you graduate, you are not a failure. It’s ok if it takes you a few jobs to find it. Have patience.
With endless number of takeaways, these were the ones that stood out to me the most. Especially, as a CAS major who used to feel limited to her major. That is not the case. The possibilities are endless, the world is my oyster, and yours too. Overall, I learned a lot of valuable information that I otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of if I hadn’t attended this event. Take Mark’s advice and take advantage of your UP community NOW! There is so much to offer, and the Career Center is constantly putting on alumni events, career fairs, etc. Go and make the most of these events! You never know what you might learn, and might even gain some peace of mind if you are stressing about life after college. It will all work out.