Career Focus Change: Jillian Parks' Journey

Jillian Parks
December 20, 2022

My favorite movie is The Lion King, and I doubt that will ever change. I revel in the beauty and soul of that movie. I sob every time I watch Simba realize his father is dead and then triumph when he returns to his homeland of Pride Rock. The only thing that’s changed for me is realizing why I enjoy the film so much.

I used to believe it was because I loved animals, but now I recognize it’s the music, the art, the colors – that’s what had the greatest impact on me.

I’m telling you this because two years ago, I switched the course of my career entirely - from pre-veterinarian to marketing management. While nearly 80% of college students change their major once, I was stunned when it happened to me.  

Throughout my childhood, I grew up begging to visit zoos and  fascinated by creatures great and small. In high school, I worked as a kennel assistant at an animal hospital, eventually moving up to veterinary technician my first summer back from college. It was that first taste of field experience that started driving me in a different direction.

Everyone I worked with was miserable, all hours of the day. And what was worse, many of them took their grand old time with patients, making owners wait hours to hear any kind of update. While not every animal hospital is like this one, I did not want to become an animal doctor just to start resenting what I did. 

Additionally, I came to the conclusion that I hated medicine – that it just wasn’t interesting to me. This was very difficult to come to terms with because all my life, I dreamed of becoming a doctor, of wearing white lab coat, feeling superior when I answered the question “So what do you do?” But none of this was worth anything if I wasn’t passionate about my work.

That left me trying to figure out what I truly wanted to pursue – perhaps  something I had overlooked because I had such tunnel vision for veterinary school? Music and singing are things I’ve always connected with, and, I realized the reason I enjoyed them so much is because of how they make me feel. 

And that’s what marketing is about, too. Marketing allows me to develop a brand image and evoke emotion. To create a brand experience. To make people associate a brand with memorable moments in their lives. 

I’ve also come to realize  I never want to become someone so obsessed with their career that they forget the most important things in life are the people they come home to. Because to me, love is the most valuable part of the human experience.

While frightening at times, this transition into marketing will allow me to pursue the creative side of myself that was always there, just hidden for a time, and also use the passion I’ve always had for evoking emotion in others.

Yes, you’ll still find me with two or three dogs when I’m financially stable enough, but I’m on the right path to preserve the things I value most in life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOr
Jillian Parks is a Fifty Six Social Media Marketing Intern. She is a student at Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, Virginia, studying Marketing Management, but her hometown resides in Sparta, New Jersey. In her free time, she loves taking her dog, Jenna, for walks and traveling to new places. She hopes to live in New York City full-time after graduating.
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Career Focus Change: Jillian Parks' Journey

Jillian Parks
December 20, 2022

My favorite movie is The Lion King, and I doubt that will ever change. I revel in the beauty and soul of that movie. I sob every time I watch Simba realize his father is dead and then triumph when he returns to his homeland of Pride Rock. The only thing that’s changed for me is realizing why I enjoy the film so much.

I used to believe it was because I loved animals, but now I recognize it’s the music, the art, the colors – that’s what had the greatest impact on me.

I’m telling you this because two years ago, I switched the course of my career entirely - from pre-veterinarian to marketing management. While nearly 80% of college students change their major once, I was stunned when it happened to me.  

Throughout my childhood, I grew up begging to visit zoos and  fascinated by creatures great and small. In high school, I worked as a kennel assistant at an animal hospital, eventually moving up to veterinary technician my first summer back from college. It was that first taste of field experience that started driving me in a different direction.

Everyone I worked with was miserable, all hours of the day. And what was worse, many of them took their grand old time with patients, making owners wait hours to hear any kind of update. While not every animal hospital is like this one, I did not want to become an animal doctor just to start resenting what I did. 

Additionally, I came to the conclusion that I hated medicine – that it just wasn’t interesting to me. This was very difficult to come to terms with because all my life, I dreamed of becoming a doctor, of wearing white lab coat, feeling superior when I answered the question “So what do you do?” But none of this was worth anything if I wasn’t passionate about my work.

That left me trying to figure out what I truly wanted to pursue – perhaps  something I had overlooked because I had such tunnel vision for veterinary school? Music and singing are things I’ve always connected with, and, I realized the reason I enjoyed them so much is because of how they make me feel. 

And that’s what marketing is about, too. Marketing allows me to develop a brand image and evoke emotion. To create a brand experience. To make people associate a brand with memorable moments in their lives. 

I’ve also come to realize  I never want to become someone so obsessed with their career that they forget the most important things in life are the people they come home to. Because to me, love is the most valuable part of the human experience.

While frightening at times, this transition into marketing will allow me to pursue the creative side of myself that was always there, just hidden for a time, and also use the passion I’ve always had for evoking emotion in others.

Yes, you’ll still find me with two or three dogs when I’m financially stable enough, but I’m on the right path to preserve the things I value most in life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOr
Jillian Parks is a Fifty Six Social Media Marketing Intern. She is a student at Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, Virginia, studying Marketing Management, but her hometown resides in Sparta, New Jersey. In her free time, she loves taking her dog, Jenna, for walks and traveling to new places. She hopes to live in New York City full-time after graduating.
BACK TO FINDINGS