Seizing the Opportunity

Jennifer Berry is a 24-year-old graduate from Oregon State University. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She also recently returned from a 5-month dance tour with the Utah Ballroom Dance Company putting on Dancing With YOUR Stars shows up and down the west coast.
Going into college I thought I had a pretty good idea of how my 4 years would go. I wanted to get a GPA over 3.5, I wanted to go into Dietetics (that is, after all, why I chose the only school in Oregon with a Dietetics program) and I wanted to make life-long friends. That was as far as my plan went, but I didn’t realize how much I really could get out of my college experience by not being afraid to make mistakes and simply seizing the opportunities that come my way.
My first year of college didn’t go so smoothly. I started despising my major, Dietetics. I realized just because you are good at something it doesn’t mean it is the right thing for you. That year I did everything I could to be successful in Dietetics; I joined the different associations and clubs, volunteered a lot to build up my resume, studied like crazy, and frankly I got burnt out! By the end of the year I knew I had to reevaluate my goals for college.
For some reason I refused to just be undeclared, I wanted to have a major so I didn’t feel like I was wasting my time. So I sat down and started writing down things that I like. As a former figure skater, violinist, and guitarist, music came up quite a bit. After doing some research I decided that being in the music industry might be my dream career. Since Oregon State didn’t have a Music Business Degree I decided to just go into Business.
Starting my second year, I was happy with my new major, Business. However, there was still something missing. I needed a hobby. I searched through the course catalog and thought why not try ballroom dancing. I was hooked after my first class. This is when my college career really started going the way I’d always imagined. I had a major I loved, a hobby I was passionate about and I started making some close friends.
The first big opportunity I would say I seized was auditioning for a ballroom dance performance team at Oregon State. I had no idea what it would be like but I thought that it seemed fun why not give it a shot. Little did I know that this performance team would open up many doors for me. The second big opportunity I seized was studying abroad in France. I decided to pursue a French minor since languages have always been of interest to me. My mom is Croatian and before I studied abroad I visited Europe three times, knowing that I wanted to go back. And the third big opportunity I seized was taking an internship at Warner Music Group in LA.
Those three big opportunities I took were only available to me because I had an open mind and I was willing to make mistakes. They’ve shaped the way my life is today upon graduation. For example, after being with the Oregon State Ballroom Dance team, I ended up auditioning for the Utah Ballroom Dance Company. With the UBDC, I toured up and down the West Coast doing Dancing With YOUR Stars shows in different communities. I met many prestigious people all around the West Coast. My study abroad experience in France changed me completely. I was on my own in a foreign country of which I barely could speak the language. I had some memorable great and terrible experiences that overall made me a very strong individual. Without that experience I never would have been able to handle the hustle and bustle of the music industry, and taking that internship with Warner Music Group was life changing as well. Although it was unpaid, I learned how the music industry works and I built a lot of strong connections. The music industry is all about networking. I hope to get a job with Warner in LA in the future. After my tour I decided to start my own business as a ballroom dance instructor. This started as a hobby and kept growing. Now life for me is about choosing what the best opportunity is. Should I continue growing my own business doing something that I love or should I pursue my dream job in the music industry? It’s better to have too many choices than none at all!
Don’t make the mistake many students make of just passing through college to get the piece of paper that companies look for, your Degree. Make college your own journey that guides you to what your dream career may be. The opportunities will be there you just need to put yourself out there to see them!

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