Advice from the Staff: Using experience as a way to affirm your major

Students in Engineering & IT put themselves through rigid, challenging programs in order to complete their degrees, so it is especially important for them to be certain that this path is the right one for them. Gaining experience, whether it be through a club, internship, or project, is one of the best ways for students to evaluate their interest in their chosen field and affirm that they are making the right decision. 

Emily Ziemba, a graduate student at Binghamton, originally entered college with a journalism major, but things changed after she started seeking out experiences relating to that industry. “I joined the student newspaper in order to gain experience in the field, and quickly realized it was not for me,” she recalls. “I enjoyed the writing aspect, however I wanted more communication and networking with people rather than the few interviews I was able to conduct.” Since this, Emily has made a point to conduct informational interviews with professionals to affirm her interest in her major and before submitting job applications. She recently conducted an informational interview with a student affairs professional to gauge interest in an internship, and was able to confirm her interest in the position before spending time on the application while also leveraging the additional information she gained to make a tailored cover letter.

Gaining relevant experience can also provide reassurance and clarity to a student that they have made the right decision. Maya Tierney has not changed her major once during her time at Binghamton, and different class projects along the way have helped her to realize that she is on the right path. Her most memorable project was in her constitutional law class. “My professor gave us a legal hypothetical to write about surrounding a presidential impeachment during Trump’s first impeachment,” she explained. “It was so interesting to do legal research on a relevant issue.” 

These lessons also translate to Engineering & IT. As you continue through your courses, stop to reflect after each project to affirm that what you are doing is representative of your strengths, skillset, and interests. You can also join clubs, find internships, and conduct informational interviews to gain more industry insights. The Fleishman Center is available to assist you in finding experience and exploration opportunities.

By Julia Sullivan
Julia Sullivan Marketing Graduate Assistant