As the Director for student opportunities at Claremont McKenna College, Ursula Diamond leads the Career Services team and helps students and alumni develop their career journeys.
Before CMC, Ursula explored many fields on her own career journey, working as a leader, administrator, and educator in higher education, healthcare, financial services, and consulting. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of London, a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Higher Education, both from New York University.
Listen in on the Find Your Passion Career Podcast to my conversation with Ursula on the importance of career services and how you aren’t alone finding a career you like.
First-generation college student
As a first-generation college student, Ursula had to figure it all out on her own. So, her advice: don’t do that. Ask for help when you need it, college is the perfect time for that.
“I never went to career services, never talked to any professionals. I had nobody in my family to kind of ask so I kind of muddled my way through. I wish I had had a little bit more advice during my college career to be more productive.”
Powered by wanting to make her parents proud, Ursula focused solely on academics and settled on the first job that came her way out of college: a consultant job in London she had learned about through her boyfriend of the time. She encourages her students to do that as well, to make sure to network and talk to people.
During her college career, Ursula didn’t get involved in many extracurriculars or internship opportunities.
“I assumed that to be successful in college, you have to work really hard on your academics.” But on this point, Ursula advises otherwise.
There’s Power in Passion
Ursula shared her Pasadena Pacers running shirt which reflects her passion. She was never a runner or any type of an athlete, but she picked up the sport to spend time with her husband because he is a runner. In one year though, Ursula was able to run a half marathon.
Her goals were simple: do a little bit more every day to become better in the long run. She uses her running journey as a career building metaphor. Take one step every day in pursuit of your career. You don’t need big goals or to have it all figured out.
Another tip for success is to surround yourself with a supportive community, which will motivate you to continually improve.
“You can really do anything, if you have the right support system and you don’t try to be too ambitious and push yourself too far.”
At CMC, Ursula enjoys helping students on campus discover their interests, plan for their future careers, and take part in clubs that she never experienced as a college student.
“You have got to explore, you’ve got to find ways to talk to people and discover what the different opportunities are, so you don’t lock yourself into something very quickly without realizing there is a whole other world out there.”
Think of someone in your life that believes in you. Go beyond the obvious (like mom and dad) and write their name down. Make it a point to talk to them this week. If you don’t have that someone, I challenge you to go and find them. Go find your hype squad!
Once you’re inspired by Ursula’s advice, we would love to read your review. Thank you so much!