Written by: Claudia Aparicio
Sociology Level IV
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Career Networking Breakfast for the second time as an undergrad. As I had expected, the staff from Experiential Education did a great job at putting the event together and inviting very receptive and experienced professionals from different fields in the Social Sciences. I myself had the chance to visit the Communications and Development, Research and Analysis, Social Services and Graduate Studies tables where I not only learned some of the specifics of the guests’ jobs and fields, but also some general but valuable lessons that I want to share with all of you.
1. I learned that if an organization or company calls you for an interview, they already think you have the experience and qualifications for the job. Therefore, the interview is not just meant to assess your skills but whether your values, personality and real-life experiences are a match for the organization.
2. I also learned that contacting people in your field of interest and talking to them about their experiences is crucial if you want to find a job that suits your lifestyle, personality and preferences. By talking to professionals in the field, you will be able to learn the ins and outs of the job and you will be able to assess whether their career is a path you would actually like to take or not.
3. I learned that you must stay connected to anyone who knows about your work! Whether you have a professor that has been your mentor, a TA that really knows you, or a supervisor that has worked with you in the past, you must try to stay connected because you never know when you will need someone to attest to your skills, knowledge or experiences. This is particularly important for students who are planning to apply to grad school after working for a year or two.
4. Finally, the most valuable lesson I gained from this experience is that when you get close to graduation you are not actually expected to decide how the rest of your life is going to look like. Sure, we all have to choose if we want to go to grad school, work, apply to college or even take a year off but we only have to worry about that next step. Often times, we feel so lost, uncertain and confused about what to do after we graduate that we tend to lose sight of the fact that career paths are not fixed, and that making that choice is only the first step in a long journey full of surprises and opportunities.