5 Things I Learned at the Futures Forum

The school I attend, Iowa State University, has a futures forum panel every semester. These panels are made up of former ISU students who graduated from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This particular forum focused on ISU grads that followed the non-traditional career paths to a career in journalism, mass communication, advertising or marketing. The quotes below are ones I found to be highlight points of the talk.


“You don’t have to know today what you’re going to do tomorrow, just be good at what you’re doing today”

Life is going to lead you in different directions. Opportunities will come that will take you down paths you never expected. It is impossible to plan for everything. That’s why it’s okay to feel uneasy about the future, since it’s hard to know what’s in store. The key is to polish the skills you have now. Work hard, gain confidence, stay engaged and you will be able to take your future steps without hesitation.

“Work with people who are better than you. It will help you better yourself”

You’re not going to learn in an office with people who have the same skill set as you. Although it may seem intimidating, it’s essential to work with people who have an enhanced or different skill set than yourself. You will learn from them and it will help you in your career.

“It’s not enough just to go to class anymore. It’s the extra-curriculars that set you apart.”

Any student who’s any student is going to class. The important thing is to set yourself apart from everyone else. The only way to do this is to get involved. Join a club, volunteer, freelance, etc. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re doing things that will make your resume distinguishable from all the others.

“Be well rounded and diverse. Don’t limit yourself. You might unexpectedly find something you love and if not, you’ll learn from it.”

This goes along with the extracurricular activities.  Make sure you’re not “putting all your eggs in one basket.” It’s important to diversify yourself. Have you been to an art show? Supported a benefit for a cause? Attended a business lecture? Joined a pottery making class? Read up on health blogs? Of course, these examples are not the only things you can do. The point is, dip your feet in many different waters. You might unexpectedly find yourself jumping into a nearby pond or diving into a brand new ocean.

“Find the crossroads between what you’re good at and what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

If you find yourself willingly spending a lot of time doing something, chances are that is something you love to do. If you find people complimenting you on certain things, or asking you to help them with certain tasks, chances are that is something you’re good at. You’re already spending a lot of time on both of these things so why not take them, fuse them together and create your own career path? For example, if you’re a great photographer and you enjoy surfing, why not do both!? Take photos of people surfing or take photos on your own surfing adventures. It’s really that easy! Take what you love and what you’re good at and you’ll never have a job, it will be a paid hobby.