From January 15 to 16, the sophomore class got to experience one of the many amazing opportunities Colgate has to offer students when it comes to figuring out what the heck all of us are going to do when we graduate. This weekend to remember was called SophoMORE Connections, during which tons of alumni traveled back to campus completely devoted to helping each and every one of us find our true passion and to bring us closer to figuring out a career path.
My classmates and I were unsure what to really expect from the weekend. We anxiously talked about the pantsuits that our moms made us buy and if we actually had to wear them — as well as how nervous we were to finally confront what everyone has been talking about these days: “networking.” I think I can speak for most of my classmates when I say that this new and uncharted territory was daunting, and the expectation was that it was going to continue to be daunting until it was finally over. However, much to our pleasant surprise, the weekend turned out to be one of the most positive and helpful experiences of our college careers thus far. Not only did we realize that we could forgo that dreadful pantsuit, but also that the entire weekend was going to be much more comfortable than we had imagined.
The alumni present were approachable and excited to assist us through this intimidating process, and they helped make what we had to attend something that we wanted to attend and truly enjoyed. Instead of asking us what we wanted to do when we graduate, they asked if we knew what we wanted to do when we graduate and assured us that it was okay if we didn’t. Topics ranging from business and consulting all the way to art and sustainability were talked about in various panels, allowing students to explore lots of interests to help us find the right fit. The alumni at these panels were there to give the most honest answers to any questions students could think of, allowing us all to really understand what they did on a daily basis in their industries and what kinds of qualities would be helpful to succeed in any particular industry.
The keynote speaker of the weekend, Sian-Pierre Regis ’06, had an inspiring message that really hit home for me and I’m sure for many others. He talked about his unconventional path to success and the trials he faced in order to figure out what he really wanted to do with his life. He talked about a gut feeling that he encouraged us all to look for in the career we decide to choose, motivating us to follow what we truly want to be doing, not what we think we should be doing. This message might seem somewhat cliché; however, it opened up our eyes to the endless possibilities that life has to offer and personally inspired me to look for that feeling. What I took away from this weekend was to do what you love to do and make it into a career. Find that “gut feeling” and run with it until it finally gets you to where you want to be. I learned that failure is not only OK, but also necessary in order to finally succeed. It taught me to not just look for a job, but instead a career in something that I am excited about and will truly enjoy for life. If all goes well, hopefully I will be the one talking to the students at Colgate University in the future, motivating them to find their passion just as alumni did for me.
This essay first appeared on hercampus.com and is used here with permission. Dates have been added for clarity.