Meet Payton Kittaka

Exploring: An Invaluable Waste of Time

Ever feel guilty for wasting time? In this world of go-go-go, wasting time can feel sinful. Unfortunately, this mindset blocks your ability to explore. Explore your options. Explore who you are. Franklin College senior Payton Kittaka’s advisor challenged him to take a risk and seemingly waste time in an internship that didn’t pan out for a career choice but taught him more about what he did want to do long-term.

Searching for something to fill his summer, the chemistry major determined he wanted to find a lab-based internship for the summer. However, Payton’s then-foggy career aspiration prevented him from choosing the perfect internship to chase. Luckily, he knew his advisor at the time, retired Franklin College professor Edward Chikwana, Ph.D., would have an idea or two.

“I reached out to a professor, telling him I was looking for a lab-based internship to try to get some more laboratory skills. He immediately put me in touch with a pharmaceutical company and their hiring department. That turned into a full paid summer internship.” – Kittaka

Payton KittakaA summer internship that paid? Yes, please. Payton enjoyed the internship because the work allowed him the opportunity to flex his lab skills, but the pharmaceutical world did not grip his attention.

“I had a really profound conversation with one employee that really changed my whole outlook on what I want to do within the sciences and my education. He asked me, ‘Will you be coming back next summer.’ And I wasn’t really sure that I would. He said, ‘Let me ask you this: the work you’re doing right now, you’re essentially doing the same work I’m doing. Ten, fifteen years down the road, are you going to be wanting to do that same thing?’ And I told him, ‘Probably not.’ He said, ‘Then, we love having you here, but I would highly recommend you search somewhere else.’ Not exactly the conversation I was planning on having.” – Kittaka

So, while the internship failed to spark a passion for medicine, it wasn’t a waste of time. The experience helped Payton realize that a comfortable career choice does not always equal the right career choice. Ultimately, he can cross this career choice off his list of possibilities and explore other opportunities.

Franklin realizes not every internship or class will steer you toward your perfect career. Regardless, every challenge empowers you to explore your options, who you are and who you want to become.

Are you ready to dive headfirst into the realm of possibility? Explore and find yourself at Franklin College.

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