Many of them told me it was the words of the people closest to them that inspired them. Especially when it came to determining which major or career they wanted to pursue. While some had set their own goals, I heard over and over again that the choice was because of something a teacher or family member said to them along the way.
Listening to them talk about the various challenges they have overcome to pursue their degrees, I can't help but admire their motivation. They juggle work and family obligations but yet somehow find time to study and do internships/field work at the same time.
I believe it is the people standing behind us who make the difference. As I think back to my own college days, I also remember the words of those closest to me. It was a time of search and discovery, taking classes in various areas, but there was one teacher who took the time to help me out. I didn't know anyone in my field at the time, and he was able to tell me what kinds of jobs were out there and what skills were needed for them. I really appreciated someone telling me what it would be like in the real world, and giving me the push I needed to get out there and do job shadowing and internships in order to build my resume.
If you’d like to give a shout out to those who inspired or supported you along the way, feel free to add a comment below.