I would like to take this opportunity to share my journey in finding my calling in education.
I graduated from college in 1999. Though my college major was economics, I chose to work for a Swedish company as a travel consultant because I believed my strength lay in interacting with people than crunching numbers. After several years of hard work, I became the key account manager responsible for customer relationships at Amex Travel, a branch office of American Express in Shanghai. During those eight years, I honed my skills in customer service and interpersonal communication.
My reputation as an effective communicator and customer service specialist earned me an invitation from Philips in 2007, one of my key accounts, to compete for its North Asia Travel Manager position. After multiple rounds of interviews, I finally received the offer and became responsible for travel commodity procurement and stakeholder relationship management. I felt so lucky to work with such a Fortune 500 company as it provided ample opportunities for personal and professional growth. During my five years working at Philips, I had the privilege of traveling to many countries, immersing myself in different cultures, and developing my skills in negotiation, analysis, and leadership through staff training and project tasks.
As I was climbing the corporate ladder and everything seemed to be going well, I began to realize that the corporate environment was not the right fit for me. It was overly complex and demanding. So, at the age of 35 in 2011, I made a significant decision: I quit my job and moved to Chile with my family.
Having worked in various industries such as travel, government, and production for 12 years, I knew it was time to search for a career that I was truly passionate about. In 2014, I decided to return to school to pursue a higher degree in Education. I had never formally entered the field of education, but since my sophomore year of college, I have been providing tutoring to high school students. I discovered my love for teaching, especially the satisfaction of inspiring my students to change their attitude toward learning. Once I recognized that education was my true calling, I was determined to overcome any obstacles to fulfill it.
Transitioning mid-career was not easy. I had to learn to juggle multi-tasks, taking care of three kids while studying. Additionally, I had to adapt to the American higher education system, which was quite different from what I had experienced in China, demanding extensive research and writing. To achieve my goal, I had to work even harder than my classmates. Nevertheless, it was the best decision I had ever made because it led me to discover my purpose and value as a meaningful individual.
Today, I find great fulfillment in using my knowledge of student development to help my students grow and share life experiences to help them define their goals and plans. As a certified college counselor and career facilitator, I can assist my students in identifying their interests and inspiring them to become independent thinkers who pursue academic and career paths beyond their expectations.
I thoroughly enjoy my current roles, finding happiness in helping others and earning their respect. However, in my counseling journey, I understand that continuous learning is crucial for success. I firmly believe that life is about preparation and making wise decisions. Only lifelong learners can be exceptional in living their purpose.
I wish all of you the best of luck in defining your life purpose and mission!