NEWARK — We’ve all perhaps heard the phrase “Life is a journey, not a destination.” But the sentiment is one that every Ohio State student understands fully by the time they graduate.
Many come to Ohio State focused on the destination of a degree, but realize as they near graduation that it is their journey through Ohio State that has made all the difference.
There’s the faculty mentor who unexpectedly changed the way they look at the world; or an opportunity to study abroad, where they saw that world from a different perspective. And, in the case of rising senior Anna Yoder, it was an internship that opened her eyes to new career possibilities.
The Fredericktown native came to Ohio State almost by accident. The oldest of five children to a single mom, Yoder was devastated to realize that she could not afford to attend her dream college — a private, four-year institution. She enrolled at The Ohio State University at Newark sight unseen. Her expectations? Non-existent.
Her reality, however, was about to become great, as Yoder charted her very own personal Ohio State experience.
Despite initial doubts, Yoder quickly became involved in a campus that she would soon define as home. From gaining leadership skills as a Buckeye Guide coordinator and vice president of the American Sign Language student organization, to acting in a play and participating in homecoming court, to welcoming the new class to Ohio State Newark at opening convocation in her sophomore and junior years, Yoder found, and embraced, abundant opportunities.
An integrated social studies major, Yoder planned to work in high school education after graduation. But opportunities can lead to new possibilities, Yoder learned, and a summer internship in business and marketing between her sophomore and juniors years led Yoder to think about a career change. She became intrigued with the idea of helping others find their own career and began exploring the human resources field. She found a second internship this past summer working directly in human resources, which has confirmed her excitement for the field.
“When I explained my change in goals to Derek Thatcher, who manages the internship program at Ohio State Newark, he immediately started working to help me find an internship that would be really meaningful to me,” said Yoder. “I’m working full-time this summer at a local company, and my internship has given me a first-hand look into what a career in the field could look like,” she said.
Yoder also has spent the past two years as a split-campus student — she’s enrolled at both Ohio State Newark and the Columbus campus, where she not only takes classes but participates in the student human resources group. She’s also looking ahead, and will plan to become certified by the Society for Human Resource Management Association before graduation.
Her advice to Ohio State Newark students?
“Start positioning yourself as soon as you begin,” Yoder said. “Get good grades, get involved in campus organizations, take leadership roles and get work experience. And if there’s something that you want to do, just ask. There are plenty of people here who want to help.”