The Daily Gamecock

Community Pathfinder shares personal career path

USC alumna Julie Hance discussed her career and offered advice to soon-to-be graduates at one lecture in the Leadership and Service Center's Community Pathfinder series.

Hance graduated from the engineering program in December 1985, and she was the first in her family to earn a college degree. She said she didn't feel as pressured to do well, so she didn't take her academics as seriously as she could have.

"It's only four years of your life, but it's a big four," she said. "Regardless of how serious a student anybody is, college is a time to have fun, and it's a time to make mistakes."

Since her first couple jobs right out of college, Hance has spent her working career at companies that specialize in technology. She said much of her engineering training was not used to actually create products, but to facilitate their implementation. 

"A lot of times you'll end up in a job that you don't really know how to do," she said. "That engineering degree was really about solving problems. It was really about thinking. It wasn't really about gravity or the formula for pi or anything else."

Hance encouraged graduating seniors to take bold chances and to not limit themselves to whatever career they always thought they would pursue. She was thrown into situations that formal training had not prepared her for.

"Sometimes you don't know what to do," Hance said. "You know you're smart enough to make a change if you make the wrong decision."