US College Graduates Want Work with Purpose
When she was growing up, Camille Roberts always saw science in her future.
Her parents are both doctors of chemistry and she wanted to follow their example by going into medical research.
It was not just that she enjoyed the idea of making scientific discoveries. The 24-year-old Pennsylvania native says her parents taught her the importance of helping others. She saw medical research as a way of helping improve society.
And, seeking an education in such a field would likely lead to a high-paying job.
So, in 2013, Roberts began studying biomedical engineering at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
During her four years there, she volunteered with young children in the city. She also worked as a teaching assistant for several professors. These experiences introduced her to other, more personal ways to help people.
After completing her studies in 2017, Roberts took a research position at the National Institute of Mental Health. But she soon began feeling deeply unhappy with her work. She wanted a change.
What meant more to me was a day-to-day impact that I could see and that I could feel, and had more control over, Roberts told VOA.
So in 2018, Roberts took a job doing what she had come to find much more enjoyable: teaching. She started teaching science classes at the Fusion Academy, a private high school in Washington, D.C. that serves students with non-traditional needs.
Many of Roberts’ former classmates and coworkers now have jobs that pay them much more than she makes. Many of them also have more free time than she does. But Roberts says she would not trade more money or more free time for the creativity and purpose she now finds in her work.
Colleges and universities can help students find what gives them purpose before they graduate, she adds. The schools can do so by helping them find internships. And professors can offer classwork that makes them think about their career goals, and hold discussions about what they should really expect from the working world.