Katie (Coleman) Burington ’11
Majors: Psychology, Social Work

Please tell us about yourself.

I graduated from Concordia in 2011 with a double major in psychology and social work. I live in Fargo with my husband, Cody, who is a 2006 graduate of Concordia and a fourth-grade teacher at South Elementary in West Fargo. We have a toddler son, Nolan, who currently loves dinosaurs and reads all the books, and an infant daughter, Lennon. In my free time, I like to play new board games, go to community events, and stay active.

What does a day in the life of a career coach look like?

I’m not sure there is a typical day for a career coach. However, most weeks will include a myriad of the following:

  • Student appointments: Meet 1:1 with students to discuss their career goals and pathways to achieve those.

  • Classroom presentations: Visit classrooms and present on various topics including resumes, interviewing, and job search skills.

  • Team meetings: Meet once a week at the Career Center to make sure we are all on the same page by troubleshooting any issues and supporting each other.

  • Committee meetings: Take part in various committees across campus that work to keep Student Development and Campus Life and the college running smoothly.

  • Research: Continuously read blogs and articles to ensure we are the most up to date we can be on current career and job trends.

  • Participate in career events: Throughout the semester, the Career Center holds various events for students to help them learn more about careers and job opportunities.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is having the privilege to walk alongside students as they discover their values, interests, and skills. I enjoy having conversations with students where I can debunk some career myths and maybe lower any career anxiety associated with those myths. One of those myths, for example, is that your major determines your career for the rest of your life. Although picking a major is important and should be a thoughtful decision, your major does not determine your career or occupations you will have.

What skills are necessary for your job?

The main skills that are required for my job are oral communication, written communication, and coaching skills. We also use problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration.

How did your time as a Cobber prepare you for your career path after college?

My time as a Cobber has prepared me immensely for life after college not only in my career but also in my personal life. Two experiences that really stand out are my time on the swimming and diving team and the classes I took as a social work major. Swimming taught me how to balance multiple priorities in my life, and my social work classes prepared me to grapple with core values to determine what was meaningful to me. My time at Concordia also pushed me to grow, take risks, and be self-aware, as I was allowed the space to reflect on thoughts, actions, and inaction to make informed decisions. All of these skills influenced and informed the major decisions I made as a student at Concordia and those I have made since graduating.

What do you wish you knew in college that you know now?

I have learned that nothing is ever permanent. When I was in college, it seemed to me that choosing my major, an internship, or a job were life-altering decisions. Now, I have a perspective that tells me these decisions are not life-altering, as I have the ability to make a new choice if I am not happy. Not to quote “Frozen 2,” although it is a great movie: learn and grow from your actions and decisions, and do the next right thing.

What advice would you give to a student who might be worried about their plans for after graduation or finding their passion in life?

This is an interesting question. I feel like some students are so worried about finding their passion because it seems like everyone else has already found theirs and is living it out. I think that passion is a funny thing and telling students to find their passion puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on them. There are so many opportunities available to students after graduation, some that they may not even be aware of. It is really important for students to learn about their interests, values, and skills, which will prepare them to find something – a job, a graduate program, a service opportunity – that will fulfill some of these areas. Referring back to the advice that I would give myself as a college student, nothing is ever permanent. Although I don’t advise job-hopping, if you aren’t happy I would encourage you to make the decision to try something different.