Last week, I spent three days in Houston, Texas, attending the annual conference of my professional organization, the National Career Development Association.

Professional organizations provide their members with opportunities for networking and learning from other professionals as well as the latest information on research, trends and resources. Personally, I love attending workshops given by the leaders in our field (the authors of textbooks and research articles found in graduate school programs).

Our first keynote speaker was a departure from the usual: David Whyte, a poet. His talk was inspiring. He urged us to go to “the place where ground meets ocean – the ground that was holding you is no longer.” He warned us that “no sincere path you can take where you will not have your heart broken.” And finally, he spoke of “invisible help” — the help you don’t know you need. We were asked what invisible help we might be walking past right now. I enjoyed having new perspectives and things to ponder.

Several speakers and presenters spoke about the future of work. Sessions dealt with preparing our clients as well as preparing ourselves.

Fulton Schools students have opportunities to join several student chapters of professional associations.

The student chapters are connected to the national professional organizations. The information and networking opportunities are extremely valuable. I recommend that you get involved. Perhaps, you might even find an opportunity to attend a national conference where many companies interview student attendees for internships and jobs!

Joyce Donahue is a Certified Career Counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center.