Where do you begin with a successful career at Emmanuel? What do you focus on most? Trying to figure this out as a freshmen is definitely difficult, but in hindsight, I can see there are a few different tracks you can take, none of which are mutually exclusive. Students have a variety of choices to make about student employment, finding the right major, networking with professors, participating in and leading student organizations, and studying abroad. Students can also become a representative of Emmanuel through the Resident Assistant, Orientation Leader, Admissions Ambassador, or 1804 programs. We should probably take a pause here to realize that in my infinite knowledge as a college senior, I don’t have all the answers. I can pretend I have the authority to speak candidly about this subject by doing things like compulsively googling the phrase, “mutually exclusive” to make sure I use it in the right context.
It is my professional opinion that you can’t go wrong with any of these choices (unless you choose to do none of them). Personally, I have found a rewarding college career through student employment, which has given me extensive networking opportunities with staff and faculty. I’ve also found running a student-led group on campus to be a great experience as well. Here’s where I ran into some trouble, though. I started as a biology major here with the intention of going into a health science field and quickly realized I’m much more interested in environmental science.
This isn’t a huge deal, a general biology major is pretty applicable to this area of study, but I wondered how I was supposed to make connections and take applicable electives? It doesn’t take a detective to see that Emmanuel is very health-science concentrated. I love the small community that Emmanuel provides, but while I wanted to do work in the field, I was stuck doing work in a lab. As it turns out, this was the best problem to have, because by cross-registering at other Colleges of the Fenway, I could take the classes that interested me.
The next hurdle involved finding faculty in fields I was interested in who might have a connection to internships I wanted to apply for. It turned out I didn’t know any such faculty at Emmanuel. A little part of me gave up on it for a bit. I told myself to sit tight until I graduated and maybe I could start focusing on the things I enjoy in grad school. The amazing staff and faculty members at this school (shout out to Tracey Clingingsmith and Dr. Kuehner) encouraged me to make other such plans for myself. One day while sitting in Tracey’s office trying to troubleshoot a computer issue (not because I’m really nice, that’s just my job), she asked me about my career goals as she’d been peeking at my LinkedIn page. This one conversation has been the foundation of a great personal and professional relationship with Tracey which helped me to apply for and land both of my internships. I’m going to shamelessly plug for the Career Center here. Go to the Career Center.
After finding my way, I’ve gotten to where I am today, interning in the education department at the New England Aquarium. I get to spend a portion of my week in one of the most rewarding, interactive, and educational institutions in Boston, talking about subjects I’m genuinely passionate about. With my last paragraph, I’ll get to the point of my post: don’t let anything hold you back. Nothing about the plan you make is going to be perfect, so keep digging, keep making connections, and keep applying! Share your thoughts with other people and use the resources you have. I’m tempted to add an “until” in that last sentence, but I’m not going to because I don’t think you should ever settle.