Most people go to college for one reason: to get a good education in whatever career they choose to pursue. But do they really know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at such a young age?
A group of 15 Creighton students wanted to find out.
Inspired by the Roadtrip Nation Experience, these 15 students went out into the Omaha community to interview and film men and women whose careers inspired them or interested them. They were directed by Liza Fitzsimmons, the associate director in the Career Center and Kate Linden, the assistant director for Academic Initiatives in the Center for Student Success and Retention.
Linden, along with Arts & Sciences seniors Kathleen Franco and Mike Rios and junior Westin Miller, compiled the students’ work into a documentary, which was shown to the public on April 26.
“Though there is a lot of focus on the documentary, it is only a project meant to share four months worth of experience with the Creighton community. These 15 students met weekly for an entire semester. During our one hour meetings each week we had discussions around a different topic. The bulk of the experience was much more about the semester spent in conversation with one another,” Linden said.
Among the people interviewed were Beth Katz, the executive director and founder of Project Interfaith, Matt Weber, a professional chef who runs Table Grace Café, Zac Treimart, the president and brew master of Lucky Bucket Brewing, Ed Fennel, who works at the Crystal Forge Hotship, Lindsay Ernst, who started her own photography business, and Kevin Ehrhart, a drama instructor at The Rose Theater. Some students chose to stay close to home and interviewed Creighton professors.
“Many who were able to interview said it was the most beneficial part of the semester,” Linden said. “They were forced out of their comfort zone and really gained a lot from the experience. Two students were even offered internships.”
Arts & Sciences sophomores Alexa Billings and Adam Sparks were offered internships. Billings was given an internship from Project Interfaith, but could not accept it because of prior commitments. Sparks was offered an internship from Dr. Ken Bird, the former superintendent of Westside Public schools and now the head of Avenue Scholars Foundation in Omaha, and one of the two people Sparks interviewed. He will be accepting his internship.
“Going out and interviewing people that have jobs that you might be interested in doing was a huge help,” Sparks said. “Just seeing the unconventional paths that they’ve taken has made me feel more comfortable with not knowing what I want to do.”
“This project made it okay for me to be undecided,” Billings said. “I don’t feel pressured to decide as much as I did before; rather, I am excited to figure out what I truly want to do with life. This project pushed me to think more about what I want to do with my life in terms of what’s important to me. Instead of picking a career based on what other people think I should do, I am ready to decide for myself, whereas before I was scared of the future and ‘growing up,’ this project made me feel excited to see what things I can do with my life.”
“The purpose was to put a group of discerning students together so they could teach each other and learn from one another’s stories,” Linden said. “The documentary was simply a way to share other’s stories in hopes that it might strike a chord and inspire someone else to get out and find their own road.”
Linden hopes that she will continue this project with a new group of students in the fall and spring of the 2012-2013 school year.