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Career Center

Caroline Jones

K-State graduation year: May 2008
Degree: B.S. Anthropology, American Ethnic Studies; Minors: Women’s Studies, Leadership
Other degree received: M.A. Anthropology and International Human Rights; University of Nebraska Lincoln 2011
Current employer: Kansas State University College of Business Administration   
Position: Academic Advisor

How many times, if any, did you change your major during college?

Once from Biology to Anthropology.

Describe the process of choosing your major.

I was having a difficult time with some of the biology courses and wasn’t really enjoying the subject matter. I happened to take Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and really enjoyed the class. I met with some professors and did some research and decided that would be a better fit for me than biology.

What activities/organizations were you involved in while in college?
  • Ordinary Women - President
  • Van Zile Hall Governing Board - Treasurer and Social Chair 
  • Anthropology Club
Describe the process of finding your first job.

I felt like I waited too long to start looking for jobs, I started the search the summer before my senior year. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I decided to go to the career fair my senior year. I luckily got an on campus interview with Public Interest Research Group, from this I was chosen to go on to the next round of interviews in Chicago. I went over spring break and waited nervously for a couple weeks until I got the call a few weeks before graduation that I had a job!

Briefly describe a typical day at your job.

Every day is different because I meet with different students who all have different problems and questions. I generally start my day by answering questions by email as best I can, then I prepare for the one-on-one meetings that are scheduled with students. These meetings are generally focused on choosing classes, problem solving, and goal setting.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Helping others, in particular helping students become independent adults who can problem solve, set goals, and manage their time well.

What advice would you give someone interested in your field?

Do an internship, ask questions, and shadow someone. Get as much experience as you can in whatever field you are interested in before you commit to it. If you can do multiple internships, do them during different times of the year. See if you can help out during orientation and enrollment, get a job on campus working in the advising office.

What were the stepping stones that led to your current career?

My first job out of college is when I realized I wanted to work with college students. It took me many years after that, and a lot of other careers to get to where I am today. I went to graduate school and was a teaching assistant, which helped with the experience, but after graduating I ended up in retail and restaurant management. I never stopped looking and I asked others for help.

Has your career path taken any unconventional turns that you never would have expected?

I have been a waitress, manager, campus organizer, teaching assistant and archaeologist all before becoming and academic advisor. My degree is diverse and I have learned how to market myself for different jobs and I try not to let opportunities pass me by.

How have any changes in your life situation affected your career path?

Part of why my career as taken so many turns is because or marriage. My husband is an archaeologist and I thought when we got married we would spend several years traveling and doing archaeology around the country. We did that for a few months and then he got a job in Manhattan, KS. This was great for me an opened a lot of doors for me. We have always been incredibly supportive of one another which makes taking risks and trying out new careers better.

What job have you enjoyed the most and why?

My current job because I get to help others and I know I am being true to myself. I feel like I have accomplished something at the end of each day and I never dread going into my office.

What were the major lifestyle changes your first year out of college that made the transition hard from college to the world of work and how did you adapt?

My first job out of college was very unusual. We traveled a lot and worked 50+ hours a week. The hardest part was knowing when to let go of that first job. It’s hard when you are fresh out of college and you get what seems to be your dream job only to find out it is not. I learned that it’s ok to ask others for help and to take a step back. I also learned that you are not going to have your dream job handed to you, you are going to have to go through so pretty terrible jobs before you find the one that is perfect for you.

What was the one thing you did in college that has had the most impact on your life or career?

Being involved with groups on campus. I not only made a lot of great friends I got to know faculty members outside of the classroom. I was also in leadership positions so I had experience to put on my resume.

What tips do you have for current undergrads about opportunities they should definitely take advantage of while they are in school?

Take advantage of internships. I never did one, but I know it would have been extremely valuable. Start looking for jobs your sophomore or junior year (this goes along with the internship search). Go to the career fair before you are thinking about applying to jobs, network and try to figure out how to navigate the career fair so when you are ready for the job search you know what to expect.

Was there a specific class you remember that sparked your interest in your career direction?

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and Introduction to Non-Profit Leadership. Both classes opened my eyes to the world and helped me see how I could make a difference.

Was there a specific person in college who had a significant impact on your life or career?

There were many people who had an impact on my life, my many academic advisors, my RAs and RLC, the Agronomy department where I worked throughout undergrad, and Michelle Janet who encouraged me to get involved in Ordinary Women. Tanya Gonzalez has been the one person who has consistently supported me and encouraged me to try my best. We have kept in contact over the years and she has helped me see potential in myself when I didn’t think there was much there. She is the reason why I have never given up on myself and my role model for how I hope to encourage students to see their own potential.

Do you keep in touch with your college classmates? How have those relationships influenced your career?

I keep in touch with some, but we all had very different career goals so they haven’t influenced my career choices.