A College Guide May Not Be Set in Stone, BUT…
My Clark diarist/blogging career has come to an end. Though I am a month late of the official deadline, I figured that a post-grad account (as my last entry for the year) would provide readers a valuable perspective of what it means to have a college education from Clark, and what it takes to be competitive in the employment sector. As I have recently been offered an Analyst position at Morgan Stanley, I shall briefly share my own personal journey until this point with ample tips to current college and prospective students.
Every summer since I started college, I looked for opportunities to intern. Though you may think of me now as that “finance guy,” I did not have a sector/ideal internship in mind for the first two years of college. But, I wanted to be active and thus joined a program every summer since 2010. Believe it or not, I did not receive a paid internship till my final semester of college — every summer before that, I ended up enrolling in unpaid/stipend-based internships purely because I was keen on learning new sets of skills. Looking back at my internship career, I am glad I made the sacrifices I made and would not change a thing.
Being part of extra-curricular activities (preferably in leadership roles) is crucial in developing the appropriate skills for any workforce. Although academics sometime requires one to grind out courses even if one is not interested in the subject material, extra-curricular involvements allow one to be part of a club or society that one is truly interested in. The clubs and societies that I was a part of taught me the leadership and teamwork skills that I would have never learned in a classroom.
That being said, once you have an idea of which direction that you want to take your career in, it is wise to streamline your academic concentrations and extra-curricular involvements to where you want to be in the future. This way, not only will you enjoy what you are doing inside and outside the classroom, but it will provide a boost to your resume/CV. My economics major and mathematics minor allowed me to advertise my analytical and quantitative skills, whilst my involvement in the Clark MUN team allowed me to showcase my interpersonal and relationship building skills. Last but not least, aside from my intentions of making Clarkies more financially educated, another reason why I began Clark’s first-finance oriented undergraduate student club (Clark Investments & Trading Society) was to challenge myself and develop my leadership abilities, which I was able to consequently sell in job interviews.
Above all, I had a heck of a lot of fun in the past four years. College is a lot about experiences, so a reasonable work/life balance is ideal and it is up to you to set that equilibrium. When I joined college in my freshman year, all I wanted to do was graduate. Towards the end of my senior year, all I could wish for was to have another year. Therefore, my last tip to every college student is to have fun. Sometimes you have to put your head down and do the gritty work, but it is only worth it if you can rightfully relax afterwards.