blog postsHow my LAS degree prepared me for my first full-time jobApr 24, 2017 3:00 pm by Madison DouglasShare on FacebookTweetEmailImagesWhen I started at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I thought I had an idea of what I wanted to do upon graduation. During my application process, I selected the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences for two reasons. One, it was home to my high school love, chemistry. Secondly, if I fell out of that love, it was a versatile college. I was confident that ending my four-year journey with a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts and sciences would get me to a place in life I was proud of. I ended up graduating in May 2016 with a degree in economics and a minor in leadership studies. I decided to go straight into the working world. I had many friends that went on to further their education but for me, the options were to travel and explore for a year and then enter the workforce, or go straight in. After 17 years of school, I was ready for a change of pace. If I was going to go back to school, I wanted to have experience working first so that I could be sure of what advanced degree would accelerate me in the correct direction. Throughout my time at the U of I, I tried to find different areas that would open my eyes to what I was passionate about and what kind of work I enjoyed doing when the end goal was not a good grade. The different roads I went down were: joining LAS Leaders, joining a sorority, becoming a teaching assistant, writing a new women’s power and leadership course as a research assistant, and in my last semester, picking up a marketing internship. I would say all these experiences were relevant in getting me to where I am today. I eventually decided chemistry wasn’t the route for me. By the time I had to declare a new major, I had been in my sorority for a year and a half and also interned at Nielsen, a marketing research company. The combination of these experiences opened my eyes, and my heart, to wanting to do nonprofit work. My sorority did all of our philanthropy work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and I was instantly hooked. I loved the combination of analytical business aspects, along with relationship based human interactions, all for the greater good. This was when I started molding my U of I experiences into building blocks for ending up in nonprofit employment. My marketing internship taught me how to manage volunteers. My teaching assistant position helped me grow my communication and relationship skills. The research assistant position gave me a creative outlet. After that course came to fruition, it allowed me to interact with people I may not have otherwise gotten the chance to know. LAS Leaders was a similar experience, in that we all had different backgrounds and majors, but we were working for the same cause and that is my driving force whenever I am putting my energy into something. For someone just beginning their own journey, I would advise you to leave every door open. Just because you may think you know what you want to do, you should never deny an opportunity. In my mind, the most important part of learning what you want to do, is learning what you don’t want to do. I held many internships before my full time position and in each one I would pick out the parts I wanted in a career and also the parts I did not want. In the future, I may go back to school but for now I want to take everything I have learned and put it toward one sole focus. For me, that is raising money for the kids at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. As a development coordinator here, I am able to combine my takeaways from my experiences at the U of I; my passion for relationship based work, my eye for detail, my desire to create, and my ability to balance it all. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers more than 70 majors and provides a world-class interdisciplinary education that prepares students for lives of impact. Learn more about LAS.