Sometimes we need someone to remind us who we were before the world tried to convince us who we should be. To give us permission to dream. To show us a practical path to fulfill those dreams. This is the kind of guidance Hannah Johnson, a junior elementary education major at Union College, experienced at Union’s Student Success Center. 

She started college as a business major. “My whole family is in business,” Hannah explained. “Both my brothers are accountants and my mom is an executive at AdventHealth.”

But Hannah was not satisfied with simply fulfilling a family legacy. She wanted a job where her passions and skills came together to fill a need in the world. So she reached out to the staff at the Student Success Center who came alongside her and helped her envision her future. 

The team provided guidance in the form of assessments and dialog. “I was encouraged to take the Focus 2 assessment the Student Success Center offers, which was useful in exploring my personality, passions, interests and skills. Then there was a lot of discussion,” she continued. “The staff at the Student Success Center are really good at listening. Trina Cress, the Career Center and advising coordinator, asked me what I wanted to do when I was little—something I had fallen away from that is an innate talent or interest, something that got lost in the jumble of growing up and trying to fit into other people’s expectations.”

That’s when the answer came to her. “I would line up my teddy bears and teach them lessons,” Hannah remembered.

She explains how the Student Success Center directed her toward opportunities like internships and volunteering, “I was encouraged to do an internship to see what it’s like in business, which was extremely valuable. I realized it was not for me. I probably would have stayed in business if I didn’t have that real-world experience,” she said.

“They helped me find a volunteer opportunity as a reading tutor at City Impact,” Hannah shared. “We went into schools and did one-on-one tutoring with the kids. We used the same curriculum Lincoln Public Schools uses. It was a valuable experience and great exposure to the curriculum as well as their teaching methods.”

After careful consideration, Hannah changed her major with confidence. “I decided elementary education was what I wanted to pursue,” she said. “And I love it! I remember the first day I walked into classroom observations and I realized this was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Everything was confirmed.”

Discovering where we belong is often a life-long challenge, and finding trust-worthy guides is a gift. Union understands this is a many-faceted puzzle and they bring all the elements together in one place to help every student succeed. For students like Hannah, Union College’s Student Success team are ready to offer not only career guidance, but also the skills and tools needed to successfully navigate the transition from college to calling.