As a part of the My Future My Way Career Exploration Fair, freshmen students participated in an essay contest. Students submitted essays explaining why the Career Fair was significant to them and two winners were selected from across the district. Chris W. from Hillwood High School was one of those winners.
Not Just Another Predictable Day
At first, I had little to no expectations of the Career Fair; I only hoped that it would not be a waste of time. I thought we would board the bus, drive all the way downtown, and unload the bus just to waste more time. My doubts were almost confirmed, but something changed as I walked through the Convention Center doors; something I expected to be so dull, so bland, turned out to change my life.
Stepping through those doors left me speechless. An air of quietness, only interrupted by escalators and 9th grade chatter, was quickly replaced by the noisy, busy, hectic world of adult professionals. An enormous room lined with booths and people overtook my senses. A world of choice lay before us. The main choice to make was how I could best take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Immediately, my eyes shot to the “Arts, Media, and Communication” banner. After wandering through in awe of the amount of people, I came across a booth which provided for me an experience I will never forget. As I approached the Goodwill booth, fear washed over me. Would my handshake be proper? Would the conversation and my interview questions come naturally? As I shook hands with Danielle Taylor, a career counselor for Goodwill, this fright was replaced by a sense of intrigue and curiosity. I was ready to gain a taste of the “working world.”
“Helping people find jobs—that’s what motivates me.” Those words spoke to me as they emerged from Ms. Taylor’s mouth. A true dedication to her job, that’s what I felt. It is rare to come by an adult that truly cares. I can only hope to choose a job where I will feel this same dedication every day as I drive to work in this busy world. As I walked away, I honestly felt better about life. I felt hopeful.
As I continued wandering around in search for something that spoke to me, I encountered the Nashville Zoo. There, I met a kind lady named Ann; she educated me on the tasks and regulations of working at the zoo. What could seem so easy, caring for and playing with animals, is actually incredibly complex. It shows the need for preparation and professionalism. This is yet another quality I learned about at the Career Fair.
I then stumbled upon the NES workers. Being someone who aspires to do something with writing, I didn’t think I’d benefit much from this round of interviews, but I was wrong! I soon learned that being a lineman had more to it than climbing electric poles. It actually requires skills and acute awareness; there is much more to the job than simply climbing poles and repairing power lines. “You have to keep conflict inside the business,” explained Tony Davis. “You have to work fast and work smart to get the job done efficiently,” he told me. Yet again, I was learning tips to survive the working world. What started as nothing important turned into a crucial morning for me.
I woke up Wednesday morning expecting another predictable day. I was truly surprised by the MNPS Career Fair. It was an experience that shaped and reformed my views towards becoming a responsible working adult; I was given the opportunity to see inside the daily lives of professionals I would have never met without the Career Fair, and I now have a better understanding of what it means to work and what I need to do to prepare myself. Trying my best in high school, taking advantage of all opportunities provided like this one, developing needed skills for the workplace—that’s what is actually important for me during my high school years, and these goals start now during my freshman year. The MNPS Career Fair inspired me to better myself and try harder in order to succeed and someday have a career where, like Danielle Taylor, I am truly inspired by the work I do.