Life is a Journey, Indeed

During the first semester of freshman year at my high school, students were told they needed to identify an industry they wanted to pursue in college.

During the first semester of freshman year at my high school, students were told they needed to identify an industry they wanted to pursue in college. To some, this may seem like a casual ask, something easily answered, but for me… I panicked a little. How was I going to determine what career I wanted to hold for the rest of my life as a 14 year old girl? I ended up going with one of the most simple, frequent, almost stereotypical pathways one can choose: pre-medicine.

For the entirety of my high school career, I took classes specifically geared towards setting myself ahead in college in my chosen industry. After years consumed with understanding every nerve in the human body, learning and then relearning about photosynthesis, and a myriad of other biology, chemistry, and anatomy topics. In my senior year, however, I struggled so intensely with AP Biology that I completely transformed by ideologies on what my future would look like. Suddenly, I was lost as to what I would study in college, where I would go. I applied to Temple University, initially, as a Public Health hopeful…then Environmental Science. Upon admittance, I immediately switched to Journalism and after my first year, advertising.

I was finally on the right track, figuring out the specific industry I wanted to join, flourishing in all my courses. Declaring my concentration in Account Management was the next step, but I’ve found myself in social media roles for all my post-secondary school job experiences. At TikTok, as a sales intern for a social media turned entertainment platform, I once again feel contemplative about my destiny. For the past several years, my goal has been to enter the workforce as an account management intern, account coordinator, account executive, and finally an account director. Working with the sales department already, however, has called into question if another path in advertising is best fit for me. I’m determined to spend the rest of my time at TikTok learning more about what it means to be a Sales employee at the company, something I’ve repeatedly been told is especially unique to this business. The Sales Team here is so intricately intertwined with client-facing initiatives, something I’ve learned I’m truly passionate about. I’ve enjoyed being a part of initiatives directed towards furthering a clients presence on TikTok, being involved in the creative process, and working in many varied roles. This is something I thought was an aspect of just Account Management, but I’m seeing that there are other paths for me.

I’m so excited for what the rest of my internship experience at TikTok will expose me to.

3 Comments

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  1. Hey Tonja, this is so amazing! First of all congrats on such a cool opportunity, and it’s awesome to see you killing it. I can definitely relate to feeling lost in regards to what I wanted to do with my career. I often found myself just trying my best, and the right opportunities falling into my lap from there. I wish you the best in your future endeavors and maybe I’ll see you on TikTok’s board of directors one day!

  2. Hi, Tonja!

    What an incredible opportunity you had to intern at TikTok. That’s definitely a company I’d love to intern or work at in a non-tech role. I can definitely relate to your struggles about knowing for certain what path you want to take. In fact, I focused a good portion of my blog post talking about that. I, too, have changed my major (several times, in fact) starting as a Psychology major and ending up as an Advertising major with a concentration in Account Management just like you.

    But I’ve come to the conclusion, that we will always be students, learning and growing. Our likes and dislikes may change over time and even our dream careers. But these different experiences we collect along the way makes us very well rounded and knowledgeable about different areas.And best of all, at least we know for certain what we do and don’t enjoy and won’t go through life constantly asking, “What if?”

    Best of luck in your future endeavors! You’ve got it!

  3. Hi Tonja,
    I absolutely love your story! I feel as though we have all been in similar shoes of frustration and doubt in what industry/field would be right for us. For most of us, it is quite challenging to determine our specific career path at such a young age with our modern society changing faster than we can even catch up to at times. I am so inspired by your story and work ethic. Everything happens for a reason and I strongly believe that whats for you will certainly not pass you in life. I wish you nothing but success and hope you reach all your dreams and goals.