written by: Brian Vihlen, Director of Professional Development

Initially, when I graduated from Robert Morgan Educational Center, having studied engineering for four years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. I enrolled in Miami-Dade College (MDC) and declared my major to be Pre-Optometry. I know, you’re now thinking, “Why Optometry?” Well to answer your question, I do wear glasses, and seldom do I wear contacts within the realms of the university, however I found the anatomy of the eye to be fascinating. Also, my recently late uncle Richard Vihlen was a successful Optometrist, and had been one for decades in Leesburg, Florida. At one point while attending MDC, I learned that I had the opportunity to shadow professionals that work in the area that I am interested in. Yes, you can do this. Even if I was not able to shadow a professional for legal reasons (or they just didn’t like me and did not want me to shadow them), I would try to set up an interview with them. Well I figured that being in an office where I am the boss all day, while looking at dried eyeballs, and sitting through redundancy and gouging my eyes out…Well once I imagined I would be gouging my eyes out, I came to the conclusion that Optometry was not for me. On to the next of seven majors.

I am not going to give you the next seven majors I went through, even though you thought I would. However I am going to tell you about the time I figured out that the Medical Field was not for me. I was on the verge of enrolling in the toughest classes yet for my Major in Biology. I had a full summer before I would start those classes, so I figured that it would be best to get some practical experience under my belt. I enrolled in the Phlebotomy program at MDC Medical Campus, where I learned the proper procedures to draw blood, and actually performed this on 50 patients. I could do it, but after having experienced it, I knew that patient care was not for me. So yes, I spent $700 to become certified in Phlebotomy just to never use it again, but at least I am not going to spend $200,000 on Medical School, just to find out I did not like it. So now what? I have no major, and I do not know where to start, however “The world is my oyster.”  I decided to look to my family for guidance at that time, and I noticed something peculiar. Everyone in my family was employed in one of two fields: Medicine or Business. But where do I start in business? Isn’t business just, you know, business? That was where my mind proceeded to be blown. Business is everywhere! I just had to find what I liked in it, and I would be set.

At this point I knew that I liked money, you FIN majors know where I am going. I wanted to learn how to make my money, make money for me. So I knew that once I went through all of the required courses I needed to get into FIU, and did well, that I would end up enrolling under the major of Finance. But now you’re probably asking yourself, but you’re in the American Marketing Association? Allow me to explain. My Intro to Marketing class was with Professor Jonathan Goodrich. Needless to say, it was um, interesting. Through the lengthiness of lectures the past couple of years, I developed this ability to see past what the instructor is saying, and understand the value of the material that I am about to read on my own. It was after the second marketing class session that I decided to add a second Major to my degree, Marketing. Now my fellow marketing majors are catching on. I had heard about the American Marketing Association before, but I was too cool for student clubs. I soon found out that the proper term is, “Student Organization,” thanks Jonas. See, in medicine, it is not necessary to be in a club/student organization, to prove your worth within the field, so naturally I translated that same thinking to business. However, I did not know what being a business student entailed. I then did some digging, just like I did years ago, when it came to figuring out what I needed to do, to get to where I wanted to be; guaranteed a job before graduation. The divine forces were telling me I needed to join some type of club. Then came the all-important question that most double majors encounter: Which type of club do I join? This was where the American Marketing Association did what they do best, and were able to garner my attention and get me to a meeting. And before I knew it, I had already paid the $60 fee to become a member. Now, a year later, I am set to graduate in May with a guaranteed position at Target as an Executive Team Leader, starting well over the average amount of your undergraduate college graduate. Work hard, and you will be rewarded.