One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how I left engineering to work in social media and content creation full-time immediately after graduation.
First, I wanted to start off with some background.
How I Decided on Majoring in Engineering
My story is one you’ve probably heard many times before: I got a college degree…and now I don’t use it. To put it simply: I always loved math & science, and I basically decided to be an engineer since middle school.
I know what you might be thinking: Did your parents want you to become an engineer? Did you only have the choice between doctor, lawyer, and engineer? No one forced me into it! My parents even asked me to sign a fake contract before I went to The University of Texas in case anyone asked—ha! It just felt like the major to be in to 1) use my skills and—more importantly at the time—2) make a lot of money.
When I Decided to Leave Engineering
After my first few years at UT Austin, I realized that engineering wasn’t going to be the place for me. I couldn’t picture myself going into a traditional engineering office environment and getting excited about work. Plus, there were so many other things I was interested in: art, design, food—you name it, I was probably curious about it.
I didn’t change majors though. I didn’t want to spend any extra time in school. Plus, I thought getting an engineering degree would still be worth it as a fall-back solution. Though throughout all my years in college, I was set on finding jobs outside my major.
How I Found Full-Time Social Media Jobs
There are a few specific things I did in college that helped me feel confident applying for jobs outside my major. Here are three things I did while I was still in school:
I found opportunities to learn outside my classes
Instead of pursuing engineering internships during my college summers, I spent most of them interning in areas I was interested in like design and marketing. I loved it! Don’t get me wrong: asking for internships during that time wasn’t easy. I had to convince people that I was worth hiring through my deep interest to learn. Thankfully, small businesses like May Designs and Margot Blair Floral were kind enough to take me in. Sometimes, I worked during the summer. Sometimes, I worked during school semesters. Click here to learn how I found internships.
I time-tracked my day
Even when I was in school, I was a huge proponent of seeing how I spent my time hour-by-hour in a calendar. I knew engineering wasn’t the place I wanted to stay. If I spent the majority of my waking hours on it, how could I expect myself to have the time for new things?
Personally, I think it’s hard to find what you actually want to do when you don’t give yourself the time to have hobbies, get curious, and try new things. Give yourself the best chance to find your interests and talents by making time every day to do stuff outside your major.
I created my own experiences
This blog you’re reading now? It was a pet project. Even though I love blogging as much as I do, I treated this website like a job, because I wanted to use it as experience on my resume. If managers or companies weren’t going to hand out the opportunities to me, why not just create my own? This blog led to so many partnerships and full-time opportunities. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without it.
I spent most of my years in college feeling confused about why I was putting myself through so much stress just to do something else. I was supposed to have a 6-figure earning potential. Everyone around me was signing on big jobs with big bonuses! By senior year, I had my mind set on doing something else.
In the end, I don’t regret doing what I did. I felt confident to pursue jobs immediately after college outside my major. Now I go into work feeling excited and ready for new challenges. It honestly doesn’t feel like work. If you’re a senior in college or you’re looking for a change in your career, check out some of the blog posts below: