Wayfinder Wisdom

Our Wayfinders are upperclassmen who work at Cawley and have been trained in the overarching career exploration process. They conduct educational workshops, drop-in appointments, interview prep, and share strategies for career planning and developing your professional narrative.

This blog features posts from current and past Wayfinders sharing lessons they have learned from their time at Georgetown. Keep reading to learn from those who have “been there, done that.”

Your First Job is Not Your Forever Job
by Caitlin Panarella, C ’20
Caitlin Panarella, COL '20

As a senior, one of the main questions I face—from family, friends, professors, and new acquaintances—is the notorious, “So, what are your plans after graduation?” Don’t get me wrong, I ask this question of other seniors all the time, and I enjoy thinking about the future. 

As students graduating with a Georgetown degree, we’re told we have the world at our feet. While this may be encouraging in certain conversations, other times it carries a great deal of pressure. That pressure can hold the feeling that we have to follow our dreams, make a lot of money, live in a Friends-style apartment, and have it all together when we’re just starting to figure things out.  

What I’ve learned is that your first job does not set you on an irreversible path. You can switch careers or jobs. Sometimes it’s just about getting your foot in the door, and seeing what’s out there. Additionally, it is usually a good thing to cast a wide net when applying to jobs, fellowships, etc., because you never know what it will lead to. 

To simplify matters, sometimes your first job does not necessarily have to be your “dream job.” It just has to be A JOB. Your first job is not your forever job, and any job is an opportunity to learn what you like or don’t like doing.

Perhaps this advice will not make the decision itself any more clear, but it is meant to assure you that your life path is not riding on it. Even if you decide you want a different job while at your first job, that option WILL be open to you.

Caitlin Panarella is a senior in Georgetown College, majoring in English and minoring in Women & Gender Studies.