Post-College: The American Teacher in China

An American Teacher in China

“Post-College” is a series of blog posts featuring everyday young people as their work to achieve the life and career that they dreamed of. Few of them find themselves in places that they mapped out and most of them are okay with that.

Nick Stone is a 23 year old English teacher/copywriter in Wuhan, China.

What are the past positions you’ve held that you are most proud of and why?

My video editing internship with EDGE, my internship with Weil Foot and Ankle, and my job at AMC. Just great experiences and worthy of spending my time there.

What was so great about the experiences? Was it the relationships you made there? the work you did? the confidence or knowledge you gained? 

I simply liked working at those places. I felt like I was making a difference (even if it was shitty menial work) and I could see progress. It helps that I liked my coworkers too!

What were some of the most disappointing positions you’ve held or work that you’ve done?

My short time as a Junior Executive at The San Jose Group. They had nothing for me to do and it was an unpaid internship so I spent money on train and food to simply sit at my desk every day and do nothing. The problem is that it was at an ad agency and it would’ve been valuable experience to put on a resume but I hated it so much that I quit after a month.

What positions or past work have you held/done that you feel got you to the point you’re at today and explain the connection:

Nothing.

What are doing today that you feel is completely separate from anything you’ve done before?

I’m a teacher in China; I went to school for marketing and sociology to get into advertising. Literally none of my schooling (except perhaps the classes to do with Chinese culture language history economics and politics) has anything to do with teaching anything, you know? Hell, I don’t even know how to explain why something is said the way it is because I learned English by speaking, listening, and reading, not formal teaching.

What would you say is the most invaluable information or advice you could pass on to those who are looking to get into your field? If you’re currently unemployed or not in your desired job field, how would you help others avoid the situation you’re in?

Apply, apply, apply, apply, and once you think you’ve applied you enough places (you haven’t), apply to more places. I applied to 250 advertising jobs and that wasn’t enough. Also, get internships in your desired field. That’s important.

What have you learned from staying in a position that you didn’t like?

I haven’t done such things.

How do you think college prepared you for what you’re experiencing today?

It didn’t at all, but that’s because I was a marketing major, not a teaching one.

You don’t feel that you got any transferable skills from college? Just basic skills that you can use no matter where you go? Especially since you came from a liberal arts college where the goal is to be well-rounded instead of focused.

I guess all of my Chinese classes helped as well as sociology but it’s not stuff that’s helping me do anything here, simply stuff that has given me the ability to learn better/discuss with more people.

How much of what you’re doing today did you learn in other ways besides formal education?

My mom and dad are/were teachers so I’ve learned/am learning from them.

What are other resources that you ended up relying on heavily to fill in the gaps of what you didn’t learn in school?

Mom and dad and coworkers.

What would you do differently if you could and why?

Get an internship/apply for internships earlier. 

When did you start applying to internships?

Summer after sophomore year I applied for some but was too young. Junior year I started around January for a few in the summer then started again around March or April but could only get one at Augie. I applied to 56 total I think. Then last year I started applying in January and kept going until April I think. I mostly applied for full time jobs because one of my friends/Augie alum who worked at Leo Burnett told me internships were hard to get and they weren’t guaranteed jobs so go for full time jobs. I applied to around 255 when all was said and done. Got a few interviews/call backs and got an unpaid internship (that I took and quit within a month of).

What are your goals and name some ways you plan on achieving them (long-term, short-term, pet projects, self-development, ect.):

I want to become a copywriter and I think working on some projects here in China will give me a leg up on others. It’ll give me real world experience.

What are some of the ways that you keep yourself motivated to stay on track and stick to your goals?

Just remind myself what I want.

In what ways do you see yourself investing in your career over your lifetime?

No idea right now, I’m only 23.

That wraps up Nick’s interview.

If you’re interested in sharing your own experiences, here’s how.

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