By Maryann Akinboyewa ’15
I know I can’t be the only student on campus who sometimes feels overwhelmed and unsure when it comes to thinking about their career. One of my goals for 2014 is to get unstuck and tackle those feelings. What do I really want? Who do I want to be?
During winter break, I participated in Career Services Bridge to Business trip. Sixteen other SU students and I spent two nights in New York City with Career Services’ employer relations team, Shannon Andre and Sue Casson. We visited companies like Macy’s, AOL, J.P. Morgan Chase, GroupM, and Teach For America. Even though we all came from different majors, backgrounds, and class years, we quickly bonded as we each took a step towards figuring out our careers.
Here are 3 things I learned from the Bridge to Business trip:
- It’s all about the attitude.
We had to wake up at 6 a.m. each morning to prepare for the day’s events. The lastday of the trip was most challenging because everyone was exhausted from the previous day. When we finally stepped out onto the streets of New York City, it was freezing! At one point, I couldn’t even feel my own toes! Despite the harsh weather conditions, not one person complained. I realized then how important it is to have a positive attitude. Searching for jobs and internships can be an emotional experience, but I truly believe we can choose how we react to adversity. This semester, I’m going to make it a goal to take things in stride. After all, if one door closes, know there is always one waiting to be unlocked.
- Interviewing is a two-way street.
I was really impressed with the diversity of the companies we visited. Some of the companies we visited had a more “laid-back” office culture where employees wore t-shirts and jeans while other companies prided themselves on putting in long hours and maintaining a conservative office culture. It is so important to understand what you are looking for in a company. When interviewing, ask probing questions that can help you decide whether the company is right for you. During the trip, I quickly discovered how important work-life balance is to me. In addition, I thrive in creative environments and need to be around people who share the same values.
- Networking… you better work!
One of my favorite moments of the trip was when we worked late into the night crafting elevator pitches and honing our networking skills. Once we had written our pitches, we had to recitethem to five different people. Creating my elevator pitch was a challenge, but I felt encouraged and motivated by my peers. Everyone wanted to see each other do well. The skills I learned that night were especially helpful when it came time to network with employers and SU alumni. Because we had practiced, I felt a lot more comfortable in my ability to communicate my skills and interests to others.
I came back from the Bridge to Business trip with 16 new friends and a better sense of what life could be like after SU. I can’t say I’ve figured it all out yet, but I’m definitely on my way.
With a little faith (and a few trips to Career Services), I know 2014 will be the year I get unstuck and work towards the life I’ve always dreamed of.
Maryann went to New York City to interact with these companies, but guess what? Dozens of companies are coming to YOU next week. If you are looking for ways to engage with employers and practice the tips Maryann shared, make sure you stop by the Syracuse University Career Fair (12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Goldstein Auditorium, Schine) and Diversity in the Workplace (6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Panasci Lounge, Schine) on Tuesday, February 11! Take the opportunity to learn more about the types of companies you may want to work for and build that network!