By Janak Khilnani G’15
My experience as a Career Services student ambassador was extraordinary.
One random afternoon, I walked into Sue Casson’s office. Sue used to be the associate director for employer relations in Career Services. I mentioned that I wanted to be involved in an on-campus activity that would give me exposure to new people from different cultures and academic backgrounds. Coincidentally, she was looking for student ambassadors and asked me whether I would like to join. After discussing the opportunity with her, I decided to apply to become an ambassador and was excited to be selected.
Since I had just recently moved to Syracuse from India, and as an introvert, I feared that my communication abilities would be mocked, but I kept that fear to myself. I met the rest of the student ambassadors, all of whom were diverse, talented individuals. We had a fun first meeting where we introduced ourselves to the team, learned about our responsibilities, and shared one recent good and bad experience. By the end of the session, I was comfortable interacting with my peers and left on a positive note.
Soon we each received custom polo shirts with our names printed on them; the polos looked amazing! Then came the workshops, information sessions, and career fairs where our role as ambassadors was to assist with student and employer check-ins, promote events to our networks, guide students and employers to the venues, and so forth. There were thousands of students and hundreds of employers from various industries attending these events.
My interactions with students helped me effectively interpret and communicate despite the cultural differences, and my interactions with employers helped me to build a strong network with good relationships. One relationship was so strong that when I saw a returning employer at a different career fair, the employer said, “Oh I remember you! If you are looking for an opportunity at my company, give me a copy of your resume and I shall forward it for review.” It felt humbling. Being an ambassador also allowed me to work in close collaboration with the Career Services staff, who are always willing to help in the best possible way. They became my family away from home.
If I had to describe my experience in a nutshell, I am glad I received the opportunity to serve as an ambassador this past year as it allowed me to effectively communicate, to think on my feet when I had to answer questions from employers or students, to adapt to diversity, to multitask while balancing my academics and other on-campus roles, to grow as a team member and occasionally a leader, to motivate myself and others to succeed, and to be innovative and think critically while planning and managing events attended by tens to thousands of individuals. I am grateful to the Career Services team and I credit a major chunk of my success to them. I have been fortunate to have constant support from them in accomplishing my goals.
Would you like to be a Career Services student ambassador? The application to become a 2015-2016 ambassador is available now.
To apply, visit this link: tiny.cc/studentambassador. The deadline to apply is July 31st.