PLEN Taught Me It’s Okay Not to Have Everything Figured Out
Devon Scholz, Junior, Southern Illinois University
The Women in Global Policy seminar put on by the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) was a great experience for me. It allowed me to evaluate possible careers pathways offered in foreign policy. Along with being introduced to women in global policy, we also had the opportunity to be in Washington D.C. for a week and experience the atmosphere. Being in D.C. added another level of experience to the already enriching seminar.
Before attending the PLEN seminar for Women in Global Policy, I struggled with not knowing what I wanted to do after college. Every college student is aware of that dreaded question we are always asked when we come home from college or people ask us what our major is; “What are your plans after college?” But for me, this question always led to an uncomfortable anxiety and questioning myself because I did not have everything figured out yet. It seemed to me that the only way to succeed in the future was to have everything mapped out like most of my friends have already achieved. But my outlook on the future changed when I attended the seminar.
The itinerary of the seminar and the biographies of the guest speakers that would be addressing our Global Policy seminar excited me. I would finally be able to hear from people in the fields I had thought I would be interested in and get their take on how to enter those fields. These professionals told us about how they got started and described their individual pathways on how they got to where they are now.
An overwhelming number of them stated that when they left college they did not have a career plan going forward. They told us about their struggles in their individual fields and how they had no clearly defined pathway to any one career. Hearing this from women who have already made a name for themselves and are doing something that they love helped me to understand what I believe to be the most important lesson from the PLEN seminar, that it is okay to not have everything figured out, but by doing something, you are already on your way to finding a career or vocation that you will love.
I will always value the time I spent in D.C. for the PLEN seminar. I made wonderful connections with women who I hope to follow and work with in the future. By the end of the seminar, I was sad to leave D.C. and everyone I had met but I know that I will keep in touch with them and potentially work with them in the future.