Opportunity Knocks

         I was fairly young when I first heard this phrase. I believe it was in an episode of Franklin, though it may not have been given that it was so many years ago and I’m probably just confused. Regardless, my young and naïve mind for some reason translated this phrase into “opportunities come knocking”, and for most of my teen years I thought one must wait until opportunities present themselves to you. Fast forward a few years, and I learned this isn’t actually the case.

Now it is true that opportunities come knocking. As a university student, there are many resources I use to find new opportunities. Job postings online such as myFuture, volunteering positions widely advertised, and actual organizations dedicated to relaying internship information – these are just a few. However, this doesn’t mean that you can ONLY find an opportunity by waiting until it comes knocking.

I often find myself in situations where there aren’t advertised positions of what I actually want to do. I wouldn’t suggest being overly picky – after all, you can’t always find exactly what you want – but there’s no harm in hunting around for positions more suitable for you. The first step in doing so is identifying a general sense of what you want to do. I do this in one of two ways: either I think of the field I want to work in (music, health care, etc) or I think of the particular job I want to get as close to (museum art director, nurse, etc). Next, find established facilities that are either dedicated to your field of choice or employ individuals of such job. A couple clicks on the ever-handy World Wide Web and you’ll probably be able to find an e-mail address, phone number, or address. Contact them, being as polite as possible and ensuring that you both introduce yourself as well as a general sense of what you’re looking for. More often than not, you would get a (hopefully positive) response!

Having said that, the time and place of your e-mail likely makes a difference in your ability to find a position there. Choosing to contact an organization about a summer position when summer has already started is not the best idea – if you’re on the hunt for your own opportunities, definitely start earlier (general rule of thumb for summer positions would be to look during spring break). In addition, places that have pre-established centers for opportunities (such as hospitals with volunteering divisions) would probably redirect you there – so it would be better to think local and smaller scale (such as local daycares or medical centers). If you’re lucky, you may either catch them at a time when they were looking for extra help but hadn’t advertised yet or introduce them to the possibility of having extra help. For example, some opportunities that I had received in the past were from smaller establishments that had never had volunteers before. But upon learning that potential volunteers such as myself were interested, a position was created.

If the right opportunities don’t come knocking to you, don’t be afraid to go hunt for your own! It won’t hurt, and you could potentially have a very meaningful experience there. It’s worth a shot!

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