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New Careers Lead to Personal Growth

By: ARA Content

ARA)- It’s that time of year -- the time for resolutions, changes and with them, opportunities for personal growth. Whether it’s losing 10 pounds, quitting smoking, exercising more, or even switching careers, a New Year often brings about the need to make a change.

Is the New Year the best time to make a life-changing resolution, or is it too loaded an occasion? Are you just being set up for failure? Not necessarily says Dr. Ann Weaver, assistant professor of psychology at Argosy University/Sarasota. “Usually people make resolutions when they know they need to change an aspect of their life anyway. The New Year is a good reason, or excuse to do so,” says Dr. Weaver.

For Phyllis Kendall, a culinary arts graduate of The Art Institute of Phoenix, deciding to change from her professional military career to one as a professional chef was a creative way to segue from one life into another, doing something she loves. “In the Air Force, I had a chance assignment of running the kitchen of a coffee shop on a U.S. base in Turkey,” says Kendall, and according to her, the expertise was a “revelation.” She found she loved cooking for a crowd and resolved to take her Air Force pension and began studying culinary arts at The Art Institutes.

“Many students at our schools studying for a career in the arts and design have already had established professional careers and see this as an opportunity to stretch their creative and professional wings,” says Jacquelyn Muller, vice president of public relations for The Art Institutes. While The Art Institutes don’t track specific numbers of career changers, admissions directors cite an increase in professionals enrolling in culinary arts, fashion design and interior design, to name a few, as a way of reassessing their careers.

However, it’s not just established professionals who want to make a change. Each year at The Art Institutes, some 5,000 students donate more than 250,000 hours of volunteer work to community-based non-profit organizations. Some of these efforts are national in scope, including the annual Web Raising effort which builds professional Web sites for non-profit organizations for free. Faculty at the Argosy University campuses also volunteer time when they work with community, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly through fund-raising.

For the faculty overseeing the initiative, the Web Raising is not just an opportunity for students to get real world work experience, including client meetings, budgets and deadlines, it’s a chance to make a real impact on an organization and the people it serves.

“For some of our students, this is their first experience as a volunteer,” says Dr. Ameeta Jadav, department chair for interactive media design at The Art Institute of Atlanta, who originated the first Web Raising. “But often it’s the volunteering itself that makes the biggest impact on a student, and is in a way life-changing because they can’t help but think about the world differently, and often continue to volunteer long after the Web Raising is over.”

In short, says Dr. Weaver, “Any impetus for individuals to make a positive change in their lives, whether it’s a simple New Year’s resolution, or a chance to help make someone’s life a little better, should be welcomed, acted upon, and become a part of who they are as they go forward in their lives.”

For more information on The Art Institutes visit

The Art Institutes ( with 32 educational institutions located throughout North America, provides an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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