Reflecting on Your Experiences Early Pays Off

Career & Internship

Reflecting on Your Experiences Early Pays Off

One of the most crucial questions that college students hope to answer by the time they graduate is, what is my calling? More often than not, your future career projection is intimately tied to your major, extracurricular activities, and internship experience. Despite what most people tell you as a freshman--that you have all four years to figure it out-- figuring out early on what you are passionate about and what you are not pays off greatly. This is not to say that you should only take classes related to your career interests and not have a broad knowledge set. Rather, knowing which area you care deeply about and want to specialize in will allow you to focus your efforts and prioritize commitments.

It takes time to develop this understanding so it is good to start early. To prepare for this decision in college, high school students should seek to take a variety of classes and electives to start getting a sense of what options they have. If such electives are not available at your high school, seek out volunteer experiences and later internships as well. Taking part in competitions will also allow you the opportunity to reflect on your interests and passions. For example, I took part in NYC Science and Engineering Fair and my research experience at the medical school increased my interests in that field.

By reflecting on which classes, volunteer and internship experiences are more suited to your personality, values, and future goals, you will be more knowledgeable about yourself and the courses you want to spend your tuition on in college. In addition to being more prepared during college, figuring out your passions with the long-term in mind before applying will give you a leg up on your college admissions process. You will know what type of college suits your future interests better and be able to get better internships once you are in college.

The best way to find volunteer and internship opportunities is through the upperclassmen at your school and your guidance counselors. What have they done and may be able to help you with? In my next blog, I will share with you what I learned at a junior investigator seminar during an international research conference about the various types of mentors and how to manage these relationships to benefit you in the long run!