My brothers are twins and had been so in every sense of the word up until they were in high school. At that point, they really became two individuals on different paths to the future. Flash forward to the past couple of weeks, and you will see that the paths taken could not have been predicted.
Andrew is a bright sportsman, known to his friends and family by the bones he has broken…or more accurately, the stories that lead to those trips to the emergency room. Last year, he completed his degree in Integrated Science and Technology: Biotechnology. As he began searching for a job, the market had already begun to shake. Many companies by now had instituted hiring freezes, and the field was quite competitive. He moved in with a friend and began doing programming work for a company that kept him close to the beach.
This couldn’t have been fulfilling for him, and after his broken collarbone from New Year’s this year, he made a dramatic shift. Andrew announced on his blog he was going to apply to nursing school. This wasn’t driven by motivation to hide out in grad school, like so many young people (or even older) who find themselves without a job or without direction. He was serious. So serious, in fact, that instead of testing out night school so he could keep his current job, he applied for loans and reenrolled at his alma mater. He was going to go back full-time, and he was going to make it on his own.
Phillip might be considered the most level-headed of all of us. He did the five-year plan to get a degree in Aerospace Engineering from one of the top universities in the country. Summers were spent doing internships, making a long commute at 6am every morning, while his friends were partying and sleeping in ‘til noon. As the market began to decline, hiring freezes became layoffs. Even for jobs in engineering.
Not only was he competing with the 2009 graduates for jobs, but also included in that group are the young engineers who were victims of downsizing, bringing more experience to the table. Knowing how difficult it would be, Phillip made it his job to find a job. Weekly, we would get updates on his applications, phone screenings, and the excitement about getting that first in-person interview. He had been going at this for the majority of his senior year, spending as much time hunting through job boards as he was working on his last classes.
Don’t worry, he made it a point to spend a lot of his time having fun. He’s an engineer with social skills.
Two weeks before graduation the offers came in. Just in time. He even had options, and with the same diligence that he applied to the job hunt, he scrutinized all the pros and cons for the final decision. On graduation day, he not only could hold up his degree, he could say he had a job.
Both of these stories include dramatic change. One made the shift himself when he realized that what was out there wasn’t for him. His needs weren’t being met. The other had to adapt to economic change; something everyone has had to deal with. Both have bright futures ahead, and at this point, we can only hope for great success.
Congratulations to the Class of 2009, and to those of you making Change on your own!
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