November 14, 2014
Happy winter, everyone! I’m not sure if the snow will still be on the ground by the time this is published, but as I write this we’re experiencing our first snow of the season and our first cancellation of classes this year. I certainly remember how happy I was as a student when classes were cancelled. That is, until I realized that I would still need to make up the work. I went to school at the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University, two schools with much more cold and snow than Bend, so I’m familiar with getting around in snowy conditions.
I asked a few people what they thought students would like to hear and one suggested that I write about what I would have done differently, looking back at my own college career. I should probably say that I would have played less basketball and studied more, but that’s just not true. Being a student athlete (basketball and golf at the University of Wisconsin) was the highlight of my undergraduate career. But at the same time, I knew that experience wasn’t preparing me for a career that would actually pay me money, so I had to think about what I would do once I graduated.
And so what I wish I had done differently is to have thought about my future career much earlier in my college experience. Instead, I rolled along to my senior year never having consulted an advisor, and not thinking much about why I was taking all those economics classes — other than I enjoyed them (I know that’s hard to believe). It was only by luck that I sat next to a graduate student in a senior year economics class and he told me that I could combine my love of natural resources with economics by pursuing a career in natural resource economics. Of course it would require five more years of graduate school, but I didn’t have any other plans, so why not? Fortunately, I was able to secure a graduate research assistantship that helped pay for graduate school, which reinforced the importance of getting good grades as an undergraduate.
I was very fortunate to fall into in a career that I liked. I could just as easily have graduated with a degree in economics and landed in a government building doing something really mundane. The truth was that at the time, I had no idea what people with degrees in economics did for a living. All I had seen were economics professors. And of course, that’s what I ended up becoming.
My recommendation to you is to not leave your career up to luck or chance. Go see that career counselor and talk about what really inspires you, and how you can turn that passion into a career. You’ll be surprised how many ways you can apply your major to something you care about.
I also want to provide an update on the new campus expansion. We received approval from the City of Bend Planning Department and from the City of Bend to build a four-year campus on property owned by OSU-Cascades at the corner of Chandler Ave. and Century Drive. The City Council has also ruled unanimously in favor of OSU-Cascades. The approval has now moved to the State Land Use Board of Appeals, and it will be a few months before that process is complete. We look forward to moving beyond the land use issues, and focusing fully on the tremendous positive impact that a four-year university can have on our community – and more importantly, for our students.