From Skepticism to Social Work: Meet Stephanie
Written by: Corina Chen and the CareerVillage.org Team
An ad plays telling you the next Great Chicken Nugget is on sale tomorrow at your nearest McDonalds. A commercial flashes alerting you to the upcoming fun, connection-heavy business conference for designers. A notice crawls across your search engine, letting you know that scholarships are available to students — as long as you can sift through several thousand poorly written sites. Whatever the case, we are trained to be skeptics of an online platform’s call.
Stephanie H, incoming high school senior and student on CareerVillage.org, found herself dreaming of a career in social work. In the clutter of online search, however, she couldn’t find a trustworthy resource to guide her. In March 2021, she found herself approaching CareerVillage with heavy skepticism. Originally looking for volunteer opportunities to get a sense for social work, she found CareerVillage, a platform that offered her concrete advice from experienced social work professionals.
The longer she explored the site, the more her reluctance faded. She found CareerVillage to be highly organized and was engaged by the 1:1 professional-student conversation. She finally overcame her skepticism and typed out her first question:
Stephanie was blown away.
“I really didn’t think any professionals would actually reach out and answer because I saw there’s so many people asking questions. I’m thinking, ‘Okay, what’s the probability that my question will be answered quick?’ But then the next day, I wake up, and there’s two responses! I was impressed with this website already and happy because professionals actually gave me thoughtful responses that even went beyond what I originally asked.”
Through the professionals’ responses she received on CareerVillage, Stephanie’s career goal of being a social worker began to take shape as she found more of a concrete path through other social workers’ lived experiences. As Stephanie received professionals’ answers and read through their personal experiences with social work, her own confidence mounted.
She wrote back to the professional:
Stephanie found that her passion for social work was matched and affirmed by other social workers as she scrolled through CareerVillage’s question-answer forums.
In contrast to Stephanie’s typical experience with her school counselor and the advice she got from school — broad and standardized across multiple career fields — Stephanie has found CareerVillage to be a place of immediate, highly-relational help. Day to day, she finds that,
“CareerVillage is really different because we can ask more specific questions, and the professionals share from their experiences or what they learned from others. I always find that more helpful than the standard textbook answer.”
Her enthusiasm for CareerVillage, in tandem with her enthusiasm for social work, has impacted how she uses the platform. Stephanie has realized that she doesn’t have to have all the right questions in mind when she uses CareerVillage — the beauty and ease of being a student user is in the shared learning that occurs student to student as they learn from each others’ questions.
“I just sign on to CareerVillage.org and look through questions to see what catches my eye first. I never know what questions I may need answered until I see someone who already asked it.”
Going forward, Stephanie is hopeful to use the advice from CareerVillage to ground her security in social work fields, boost her trajectory towards the right college, and practice taking the initiative.
“The best advice I actually got was that it’s better if I reach out to social workers personally and to not be afraid of reaching out because a lot of them are happy to share about their experiences and research.”
CareerVillage’s lessons in social work, asking first, and initiative taking, have led Stephanie to pick up the habit to always lean in more.
“I always sign up for the college or virtual tour to talk to a current student. I picked up that habit because of the advice I received on CareerVillage.”
Stephanie’s new community on CareerVillage has solidified her self-confidence, built new habits, and provided her with the knowledge necessary to accomplish her career goals, one question at a time.
Stephanie’s journey is one of 5.5 million other students that are seeking career guidance on CareerVillage.org. If you’d like to join this movement or learn how your company can contribute to the massive impact CareerVillage is making, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.