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Paula Smith has been Director of Career Services at Texas Tech University School of Law for two and a half years. She was born in Roseburg, OR, and was raised in Garland, TX. Paula began college at Texas Tech and planned on graduating in three years. However, she got married and moved several times with her Air Force husband. Everywhere they moved, Paula enrolled in classes. She completed her Bachelor Degree in Business from Regis University in Denver. After many years, Paula finally fulfilled her lifelong dream of going to law school. She graduated from Texas Tech Law thirty years after she started classes at Texas Tech as an undergraduate student.
When the career counselor isn't working, she loves working in her flower garden, reading, and spending time with her grandchildren. Paula also enjoys eating at any restaurant that serves Mexican food. Two of her favorite authors are John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks. Paula has read all of their books.
Successful Director of Career Services
When asked if she had a most memorable law school experience, Paula replied, "My most memorable law school experience was listening to the advice of my classmates in regards to raising my two teenage sons."
Why did Paula decide to become a career counselor? "I applied for the career counsel role at the suggestion of a former law partner. I knew when I read the job description that it was the job for me."
What is the best part of her job? "The best part of my job is meeting with students. I like to get to know them, really listen to them, and then to encourage them to make their dreams come true. I also like to talk to lawyers and help them make a connection to students."
What does the director of career services have a knack for? "I think I have a knack for encouraging people."
Paula was asked how the market has affected students' ability to obtain positions they want. "I think the market has created fear in students and makes them wonder if they can get the job they really want. I hope that I keep them committed to their personal goals."
What does Paula do to prepare students who are entering the workforce in a downward economy? "I encourage them to expect to get the job they want via networking or direct application. Even though other job sources might seem easier, smart students seize control of their career destiny."
What advice would she give to students who are about to graduate and enter the workforce? "Patience is an important element in getting the job you want. Work at your job search in new and innovative ways. Your path will be unlike any other."
When asked what advice she would give to a student who is struggling with their coursework, Paula asserted, "Don't delay. Get help from tutors or academic support services."
What advice does Paula give to a student who doesn't know what career path to take after he/she graduates? The director of career services candidly stated, "We talk about self-assessment, things they like and things they are good at (and the reciprocals). We brainstorm roles in which they can continue to learn and grow to get to an ideal work-life balance."
In regards to her strengths and weaknesses as a college career counselor, Paula claimed, "My strengths are thinking creatively and teaching skills to students. As for my weaknesses, I'm not sure."
As the director of career services, what area of counseling is Paula most passionate about? "I am passionate about all law students and all law jobs."
What motivated Paula to become a college career counselor? "I love to see the smiles and high-fives I get when a student gets a job. I like to see that sense of accomplishment in the students."
If she wasn't the director of career services at Texas Tech University School of Law, what would she most probably be doing? "I would be practicing law or working in Human Resources."
Where does Paula see herself in five years time? "I will be happily smiling, doing the job I do today."
The Downside of Her Position and Paula's Goals
Is there a downside to her position? "The downside is that sometimes there is too much to do with too little time each day."
Does the director of career services have goals? "To be the best me that I can be. To be in charge of what I am in charge of. To remember that it is usually not about me. To be intentional in what I do and what I say."
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