Choose Your Own Path. Guest Post: Jennifer Fletcher, UMD Alum & Pathway and Operations Specialist at USG

Jennifer Fletcher is a Pathway and Operations Specialist at the Universities at Shady Grove and is also a USG alum. In 2019, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Maryland, College Park at USG. During her time on campus, Jennifer was a highly engaged student; serving as a Student Ambassador, Orientation Leader, and UMD Peer Communication Consultant, among several other student leadership positions. Jennifer is passionate about working with students and those in transitional phases of life to help them gain confidence and develop skills to accomplish their personal and professional goals. In her current role, she works closely with the Student Ambassador program and helps to market campus opportunities to prospective students and partners.

By Jennifer Fletcher

For many of us, our futures are already being planned before we’re even born. While we’re learning our A, B, Cs, the conversations have already started: I want my child to be a doctor; a lawyer; an engineer.

As we grow older, the adults in our lives start to ask, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And naturally, we echo back the same few titles we’ve always heard. The problem with this is when the decisions have already been made, there’s not much room left to explore which path is best for you

Growing up, I always wanted to be a doctor. No one ever told me I had to, but I was good at math and science, and figured it was the most socially acceptable choice. Eventually I discovered there were other ways to help people within the health field and decided to study Nursing.  

And I loved it—at first. 

But after three semesters in, I couldn’t ignore the feeling that something was missing. As I contemplated, if not nursing, then what? I was brought back to a memory of me on stage, delivering a speech at a national oratorical competition my senior year of high school. At the time, I did it to help pay for school, but looking back it was the moment that ignited my passion for speaking and allowed me to realize the difference my words could make in the lives of others. 

After this realization, my next decision was easy: change my major from Nursing to Communications. After I graduated with my Associates Degree in Communication Studies from Montgomery College, I transferred to the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Communication with the University of Maryland. A decision that would soon open up a world of opportunities.

Within my first semester at USG, I was immediately immersed into the community. I went from a student that barely participated to being highly involved on campus. I joined the Ambassador Program, participated in USG’s Leadership program, and even served as a Peer Communication Consultant for my main campus, amongst many other leadership roles. During my time at USG, I was able to discover my strengths as a student leader and gain the confidence and skills needed to prepare me for whichever path I decided to take.

After graduating, and two years of working for a local non-profit organization, I’m back at USG helping others find their voice through student leadership and spreading the word about the amazing opportunities USG has to offer. 

Deciding which path is right for you can be hard. Especially, when there are so many options to choose from. As you explore what’s next in your journey, I invite you to attend USG’s upcoming Pathways and Programs Week, Feb 28-Mar 3, to learn more about the Universities at Shady Grove and the expansive selection of majors offered by the nine Maryland universities on our campus. Whether you know exactly what you want to study or you’re still figuring it out, this series of virtual information sessions will help you get you one step closer to completing your degree.

Register for one or all three nights to learn about majors and career paths in these in-demand industries: Health, Business, Communications, Engineering, Technology, and more. 

I hope to see you there!

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