Career prep course helps student discover a new path

When Jon Yoon was questioning his pre-med plans, Taking Initiative opened up new options for an exciting future.

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JohnYoon_Feature_225x300.jpg#asset:3827Jon Yoon signed up for Taking Initiative during a time of stress and confusion, which, for him, turned out to be the best time to take the career-development course, a cornerstone of the L&S Career Initiative.

Yoon’s plans to become a doctor seemed to be crashing down after two semesters struggling through chemistry and calculus. The first-year student from Minnesota was faced with the decision of whether to scrap his medical school ambitions. “Your dream gets destroyed,” he says. “How do you recover?”

In Taking Initiative, which he took in the fall of his sophomore year, Yoon seized the opportunity to reflect on his skills. The course, plus a supportive conversation with his father, helped him identify his strengths, such as being a good writer and interacting well with others.

“Everyone is good at something — and bad at something, too,” he says. “And that’s okay.”

Excited to explore career options, Yoon created a LinkedIn profile, developed a 30-second elevator pitch describing his attributes and worked on his resume, with help from Taking Initiative instructor Greg Downey.

“To have a professor, a professional, do this was extremely helpful,” Yoon says of the guidance.

Everyone is good at something — and bad at something, too. And that's okay.

Now in his third year, Yoon is working toward a degree in sociology and thinking about a second major. He might go with Spanish, social work, communication arts or English, with a creative writing emphasis.

Yoon has more narrowing to do, but he’s grateful for how Taking Initiative has helped him pivot from pre-med and forge a new path. With how busy a student’s life gets, he doubts he would have made time for such big-picture soul searching and nuts-and-bolts resume crafting without the class.

“It’s easy to get sucked into this semester, this week,” he says. “I had an aha moment when I started thinking about what I was going to do after my undergrad years and what it would take to get there.”