Pursuing Your Passion Through Your Career: Reflections from NYU Graduate Students

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Jessica and Rachel, two NYU School of Professional Studies students who attended last year’s Find and Follow Your Passion: A FindSpark Conference, share lessons learned as we gear up for this year’s conference at NYU.

Rachel Bradshaw is a storyteller at heart. She moved to New York to pursue a master’s degree in marketing at NYU, which she’ll be completing this May. Before moving to New York she worked as an account manager for a specialty food retailer in Canada, where she’s from. Now, she’s  fulfilling her dream of working in advertising as an Associate Account Planner at Razorfish New York. 

Jessica Abreu is a creative writer, bilingual in English and Spanish. She enjoys working with non-profits and community relations. She is completing coursework at New York University’s School of Professional Studies to earn her master’s degree in public relations and corporate communications.

 Setting your course, how to get started with finding your passion and incorporating it into your professional life.

Jessica recommends taking time to develop self-awareness, especially if you have a hard time articulating your passions as they relate to the world of work.  She explains, “sometimes we have more than one passion and it’s hard to blend all of our passions together-that’s when we have to think, which one do I want to turn into a career?  Your other passions can stay active as a hobby.  The unique blend of your passions makes you and your personal brand unique- cherish them all.”

Rachel agrees, “It takes self-reflection and work to get your career going, knowing what you want is key- keep your eye on the prize.  Take advantage of opportunities to expand and connect with your network and show your passion in a genuine way.”

 Be Genuine, Patient, and Persistent

Rachel found great value in networking with employers at professional conferences such as FindSpark.  As a career changer it was invaluable for her to meet employers face to face and to tell them the story of why she is passionate about her new career. Rachel explains, “It is sometimes difficult for employers to understand the value you can offer just by reading your resume.  The opportunity to interact in person (outside of an interview setting) means you get to show them who you are and I think it helps you to become ‘top of mind’ as long as you do your part and follow up.”  Rachel loves her job at a digital marketing agency but it took patience and persistence to achieve.  The first time she applied for an internship she didn’t get it, but she kept in touch with her contacts there, sending relevant articles and checking in.  They reached out to her with an internship offer the following year which led to her current contractual role, which she hopes will turn full time once she graduates.

 Pursuing Your Passion by Taking Risks

 Jessica was reminded that sometimes pursuing your passion through your career necessitates taking risks while listening to last year’s FindSpark conference keynote speaker.  She heard Nusrat Durrani describe his professional journey, which included an internship at the age of 35 with two masters’ degrees and management experience.  Accepting an internship at that point in his career may not have been his first choice but he was extremely passionate about working in entertainment in New York City.  That internship was at MTV where he went on to become General Manager/Senior Vice President of MTV World.

 By Genevieve Boron, Assistant Director at the Wasserman Center for Career Development with Jessica Abreu, graduate student in PR and corporate communications at NYU SPS and Rachel Bradshaw, graduate student in marketing at NYU SPS.

 Click here to learn more and register for the Find & Follow Your Passion Conference on Saturday, April 18th.