Hi! I’m Courtney Hiltunen, a 2010 graduate of Randolph-Macon College. I am a Seventh
Grade Math teacher for Teach For America.
If you had asked me what I wanted to "be" at any point in my life, right up until
my senior year of high school, I would have surely said a teacher. But I put that
dream on hold when I got to college and found a place to explore my love of foreign
language. I majored in French, minored in economics, and didn’t have a clue what
I wanted to do with either. I did, however, take advantage of as many opportunities
as I could. I studied abroad, did an internship with United Airlines, volunteered
with a youth organization off campus, participated in Access CEO, and worked in
the Career Center and the HAC. By senior year, I still had no idea which direction
I would go: Business? Foreign language? Education? As someone who had always had
a plan, graduation was sneaking up a little too quickly.
If there’s one thing I learned my senior year, it's that it's not too late. If you
abandoned a dream or a passion your first three years, or you suddenly found a new
one, you can still find a way to make it happen. Just don’t be afraid to explore
your options. You may have to work a little harder or follow a different path than
you expected, but if it's truly what you want it will be worth it. After three years
of new and exciting experiences, I rediscovered my passion for teaching and knew
I wanted to be in the classroom. With no education major or formal teaching experience,
I needed an alternative route. I researched my options, and eventually applied to
and was accepted by Teach For America. It was unconventional and a challenging process,
but I’m blessed today to have a job that I absolutely love.
If you still aren't sure where you want to be after graduation, take advantage of
opportunities that you might otherwise have overlooked. You never know what you
may discover about yourself and the world of possibilities around you, and how it
may change your plans. If nothing else, you gain more insight into what you don't
want to do, and you grow personally and professionally. Whatever you do, don’t compare
your resume, your timeline, and your future to someone else's. Do what’s best for
you and not what you think others expect you to do.
Enjoy this wonderful year!
Basics of Personal and Career Development