As a senior that is graduating at the end of this year I don’t have many regrets. I’ve worked hard in school, joined a diverse group of on campus clubs, and even been in weekend warriors. But one regret that immediately comes to mind is not choosing a career path sooner.
Ms. Bernardo, a sophomore that hasn’t been through the process but still feels like she has enough clout to give advice on the matter, says that it’s ok to not know what your degree will be right this second. And she’s right, but when do you have to know? I’m not saying you should set your future in stone the second you step foot on campus freshman year. But what you should do is start thinking. It’s a life changing decision that should be given months if not years of thought before you make your choice. So think of it as a freshman, think of it as a sophomore, and decide as a junior. The sooner you make the decision, the farther ahead of the pack you’ll be.
Not all majors are the same, but in the School of Management the most important thing is networking. To get any job, in any industry, in any city, in any country in the world you need to know somebody. Sure you can cold respond to job listings but the chances of your hearing back are slim at best. The thing about networking is that you can never start too early but you can definitely start too late.
If we look at the example of Accounting majors, which also happen to make up the largest portion of SOM, if you get to know the recruiters and professionals well throughout college you can easily set yourself up with an internship that can lead to a full time offer. Or, you can fight through the hoards and hour long lines at the career fair for a 3 minute conversation with a recruiter that isn’t going to remember your name anyway. Because I’m of the latter group, I’m currently trying to claw my way into a job at a firm with a decent reputation. If I would have known what I wanted to do a year or two years earlier, I would have been able to put myself in a more competitive position.
This logic applies to all majors and disciplines. If you are pre-med or pre-law you have to decide early enough so you don’t fall behind on you’re classes and can take the mcat/ lsat and graduate on time. Or if you want to go abroad for a semester, you have to be able to plan out all your classes to see if you have time to take a semester off. I was just like Ms. Bernardo. I was unsure about what I wanted to do with myself and I never really sat down and thought about it until it was too late and now I’m paying the price.
Take your time, enjoy college, try new things, and be adventurous. But don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re here for one reason and one reason only: To use college as stepping stone to the next stage of your life. Sit down and figure out what that next step is going to be while you still can.
– Isaac Anteby is a senior majoring in accounting