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Friday, May 7, 2021

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James Owens ('20) James Owens ('20)

#SDSUGrad: James Owens

Recent graduate James Owens is heading to Peru with the Peace Corps to assist underserved communities.
By SDSU News Team

San Diego State University’s community has shown its true resilience during this unprecedented and difficult time in human history. 

Graduates from the Class of 2020, in particular, have risen to the challenge.

In this series, we highlight graduates as they prepare to embark on the next chapter of their lives, including those who have secured jobs and internships or are moving into advanced studies. SDSU Career Services continues to offer resources for students, including the new online career platform Handshake and expanded virtual programming and advising.

James Owens
Majors: Health Communication and Spanish

Can you describe a bit about yourself and how/when you decided to pursue your degree?

One of the best gifts we can give people are connection and compassion, both of which can be found through proper communication. I found my first major after my Communication 103 course and immediately fell in love with it. The communication major is a gateway to a better, more interconnected future. I believe in communication so much that I wanted to learn how to do it in two languages. My third year of college I added Spanish as my second major. The ability to speak Spanish and connect with groups of people in a different way is a beautiful method to expand your opportunities for connection, as well as further progress in any career path. 

When did you start your job search and how long was it before you received a job offer?

During the second semester of my third year of college I started to think about post-grad options but got more serious the first semester of my fourth year during Thanksgiving break. The application process was long; I applied over winter break before New Year’s and didn’t hear that I received the position until mid-March. 

What did your job search entail and what were you specifically looking for when searching job openings?

I looked on Google and Indeed for a while. My friend told me about the Peace Corps when we were talking about what I was looking for in the future. She brought up the organization and I researched for about two weeks before I began the application process. I was looking for jobs that would force me to use my Spanish and continue to push me to become a better communicator. It was also important that I was pushed to use my knowledge of the health communication landscape to help create opportunities for underserved communities. While salary played a role in deciding what I wanted to do, the more important topics of interest were a heavier use of Spanish and health communication. 
What was your reaction when you received the official job offer?

It was a wonderful few days. I found out I got into the Peace Corps and would  finally be able to live out the dream of living in a Spanish-speaking country while also creating opportunities for underserved communities. The next day I got into the graduate school of my choice at the University of Southern California (USC). I ultimately chose the Peace Corps over USC so that I could get some experience before going back to school. It proved that those long hours of thought, consideration, preparation, and hard work were all worth the trouble.

What advice do you have for fellow students, regardless of their field, looking to jump start their career and land their first job post-graduation?

Focus on what you really want to do and how that intersects with goals you have for your future self. We will be working for the majority of our lives so working in areas that make our efforts feel less like “work” and more like a passion project will be help with longevity. It doesn’t always directly relate to dollars but it can provide higher satisfaction at work. The more time spent listening to our inner desires and understanding what we are really looking for, will make it easier to find organizations and jobs that match our values.

What is it that you are most looking forward to as you kick start this next chapter?

I am excited to become more myself and follow my dreams of living in a Spanish-speaking country while also embracing a different culture. I am excited because I know that this next chapter will better define the life I want for my future self.