The REAL Value of Major and Career Exploration

Advice from the Director of EWU's Career Center: Nate Bryant

March 1, 2022
Students at a career fair

I’m Nate Bryant, EWU Career Center Director, and I’m so excited to welcome you all to the Eagle family! As we all know, the college-going experience can be really fun, but also very stressful. Especially, when thinking about the future and trying to connect all the dots. So, I’d like to share a little of my own story and some advice to help make your student’s experience far less stressful.

I always knew I wanted to work in federal law enforcement. I thought about it in high school, I worked with federal agents while I was in the military, I told everyone this was my plan – and then it wasn’t. The shift occurred in the middle of a long deployment when I realized that I had no desire to continue working in conflict. I wanted to help people, but how?

As a first-generation student, I didn’t receive guidance from my family, nor did I seek that type of support on campus while earning my undergraduate degree. Eventually, I convinced myself that a career in human resources would allow me to help people, but never tried to confirm that belief or take steps to gain experience prior to graduation. I was overly confident and didn’t know what I didn’t know. Because of this, I struggled to find my first job and then realized that HR wasn’t really what I wanted either. After a few years, I found myself working in our Career Center, developing relationships to help our students avoid the mistakes I made. Fast forward a few more years, I now lead our Career Center and I love what I do.

Chances are your student is like me and so many other students we’ve helped – they have an idea of what they want to do or study, but aren’t really sure how to test those ideas or connect the dots. Unlike me, they have support and resources available to help. A lot of them!

If I can recommend anything, it’s that they don’t wait to think about these things – don’t make the same mistakes that I made. The earlier they take advantage of major and career exploration, the more likely it is they will save time and money, find a career path that aligns with their personal/professional interests, and actually enjoy the educational experience. Most importantly, it’s more likely they’ll actually enjoy the work they do after graduation. Imagine having four years to find the right job instead of four months!

Where to start? Here are a couple of easy options they can take advantage of from day one:

  1. Schedule an appointment with the Career Center or visit us in PUB 332 – I promise we’re not scary.
  2. Connect with alumni on the Eagle Career Network – like LinkedIn, but everyone is there to help you!
  3. Join a club or student organization – explore career interests, make friends, have fun!
  4. Speak with faculty and other students – they can offer support, insight, and creative ideas.

Career Center:

Fax: 509-359-6940

Office Hours

Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.