Find your OWN way

We’re bombarded by messages all the time. This profession makes good money, that profession works long hours, this is good, the same thing is bad etc. There are so many opinions out there — but are these opinions framed in a way that’s truly beneficial for those who really need them?

Students today have guidance counselors, university visits, and access to the abundance of information on the internet to guide their career decisions. However a common sentiment is “I’m not sure.” If there’s all this information out there, why are students still lost?

Lack of real-world experiences

Some students have the privilege to be exposed to different people and experiences. They’re much more likely to understand what field they would like to do — because they’ve experienced more. It’s easy to know you never want to be a vet after interning at a vet’s office, because you get a comprehensive look at what it means to be a vet.

So, what should students do to be less lost?

1. Ask yourself questions

It all begins with you, internally. Believe that you have all the answers already, and they’re simply waiting to be found. What do you like to do you in your spare time? What brings you joy? What do you do purely because you enjoy it? What do you offer to help your friends do? What do you dread? What type of lifestyle do you want to live? Where do you want to live? Come up with a summary and find patterns. Discover multiple positions, in different fields that meet these patterns. For example, if you like talking to people, you could be a counsellor, talk show host, cashier, tutor, taxi driver, consultant… and a lot more.

2. Intern

Try it out. How do you know until you try? Keep evaluating yourself in the setting. You may hate it and be great at it, or be horrible at it but love it. Come up with some conclusions.

3. Network

Network around. Ask others for their advice. What do they like? What don’t they like? What do they find to be challenging? What do they recommend? Is it the same for you?

4. Find your tribe

Similarly to the networking, find like-minded people and further develop yourself within an area. Realise you hate all the people around you? Time to switch to something else. Realise you’re the same as everyone else? Maybe it’s a good fit.

It’s a journey figuring it out, but know you’ll get a little less loss over time.

Value of Handling an Event from our student volunteer.

Value of Handling an Event and being an OWN Academy student volunteer.

Audrey is a student volunteer from French International School in Hong Kong who did exceptionally well in managing OWN Future Fair 2018. This is a testimony of what she learned and experience with OWN Academy in managing an event.

I was part of the administration team in organizing the FIS OWN Future Fair and this just may be one of the most informative and insightful learning experiences of my life.

The OWN Future Fair is OWN Academy’s flagship event where speakers are brought in from different industries to educate today’s youth about what career options are actually out there as well as exposing them to internship opportunities.

Having attended a couple of these before, I automatically assumed that it couldn’t be that time consuming to put something like that together. Having brought this up with my friends, I didn’t seem to be the only one. All you really have to do is send out an email to potential speakers, allocate them rooms, be there on the day for registration and that’s it… right?

Wrong.

Collaborating with OWN Academy on organizing this event gave me invaluable real-world experience in event management. They placed a lot of trust in me in communicating with
business people through email directly, answering all their questions and coordinating with the school and the company. I realized that people’s schedules are unreliable and that as an event organizer, you always have to be ready for last-minute changes.

My skills in writing emails have drastically improved and I was taught how exactly to synthesize key information into digestible sections for these busy people to skim through and know what I’m talking about. I can only imagine how useful that’s going to be when I start looking for a job. I learnt to use different digital platforms to facilitate communication and keeping track of what’s happening, like Doodle for attendance polls and Zoom for registration-free video conferences. I had also never seen Google Spreadsheets used more efficiently than for this event; it opened my eyes to how useful these types of software actually are.

On the day of the FIS OWN Future Fair, I started to understand how to keep a level of professionalism and formality towards business people who have kindly donated their time to the cause of educating others, but also keeping it friendly and comfortable for to maintain a fun and engaging environment that people will want to come back to. Being the student in charge of administration, many questions were directed at me and it pushed me to become a better, more succinct and clear communicator.

Overall, it was a lot of work. But unlike most academic matters as school, this was truly rewarding. I spoke to some classmates that had attended the event and were in the sessions with the professionals and they all enjoyed it immensely which made me really happy.

To all the students who have the opportunity to attend an OWN Future Fair: GO. It is beyond worth it. To all the students who have the opportunity to participate in organizing the OWN Future Fair: GO. It’s eye-opening and incredibly gratifying to make happen. To all the professionals who made it on the day: THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge. To Christy and
the entire team at OWN Academy. THANK YOU for helping me develop these skills, I’m eternally grateful.

French International School students taking down notes at the OWN Future Fair 2018

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