Moving from Student to Professional
by Ashley Wieringa, Technical Communicator
My College Journey Comes to a Close
It’s the Spring of 2007, and I have a few blissful months left in college. I have no idea what I’m going to do after graduation. Then, I get the news. There is an internship opportunity for the upcoming summer, and it pays! Within two weeks, my kaleidoscope of opportunities becomes brighter and more beautiful.
Life as an Intern
I was off to Houston! There were hard times that tested my character. For example, I will never forget being at Schlumberger as an English major in the hustle and bustle of engineers and computer scientists. I was in a maze with no idea what I was supposed to do, much less how I was going to master the technical lingo and become a productive member of the team. I got so tired of the same ol’ question: “So, what is your major?” When I replied, “I’m an English major,” with much hesitation this question followed: “Well, what are you doing here!?” Needless to say, I plowed through the trials and I made it!
Introduction to the Workforce
I am now working at Schlumberger as a full-time technical communicator. When I graduated, my mother gave me a card that reads, “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. I am determined to keep this quotation in mind for my career and all other facets of my life. I would like to observe others’ experiences but learn my own lessons.
I am now taking advantage of the opportunity to join organizations that are related to technical communication. The Society for Technical Communication, STC, is an organization of 14,000 members; however, there are many people who will hear about this organization through the course of their lives or studies but never really know what purpose the organization serves. I had to research STC prior to writing this article, despite the fact that I was an English major, studied under professors who were highly involved with STC, and also was an intern at Schlumberger.
Now that I reflect upon my experiences in both college and at the beginning of my career, I can admit that it was not the end of college that was frightening; it was the beginning of the career world that scared me. I thought that the “real world” was going to be brutal and I was going to lack guidance, but STC offers the stability that I was apprehensive about losing.
The time to get started on your future is now. College is busy, and you don’t have much time to be doing extra activities with the peak periods in the semesters, but you can join STC and become involved at the level you are comfortable managing. Get your foot in the door now, secure your own future, begin networking, and redefine yourself so that you don’t feel that others have the power to define you.
About the Author
Ashely Weiringa is an graduate from A&M with a degree in English.