How Stephanie Ramirez-Cisneros ’24 is determining her career goals through her internship at the Fleishman Center
As a college student, I am constantly questioned about what I want to do with my life. I am asked what career I am going to pursue and what my plans are to get there. Working with the career development office on campus, I have come to learn that a career path is not linear and one should not feel discouraged to explore various experiences.
Last year, as a freshman, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the peer consultant internship program with the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. This program was great because it gave me insight into the professional world from the administrative point of view. I was given the opportunity to shadow Senior Peer Consultants on their appointments, give feedback to students, and partake in practice activities that allowed me to become more comfortable and confident in my abilities. I was also given tips by my supervisor on how to help students and make their experience transformational rather than just transactional. Being able to acknowledge students’ experiences, appreciate their work, and still give them constructive feedback is a balance that is hard to keep, but that I learned to maintain.
With the program, I was also required to take a CDCI course. This course consisted of learning about professional development through PowerPoints in weekly classes, collaborating with classmates on projects, creating blogs about our fields and experiences, and more. Such activities allowed me to improve my communication, collaboration, and time management skills.
One of my favorite aspects of this course was our Social Media Campaign. For this project, we were put in pairs and told to come up with some ideas to increase engagement on the Instagram page. My partner and I created 3-weeks worth of content, including Instagram story polls, biweekly informational posts, a professional development online contest, and a giveaway. This fun and educational experience allowed me to become more comfortable sharing ideas with others. Additionally, I learned to conduct research on creating short yet educational content that could make the career development process less intimidating to students (especially underclassmen).
Exposure to the resources offered by the Fleishman Center made this process easier for me, as well. It taught me what employers are looking for and how to start my career journey. I learned to present in front of groups of people with less nerves, I became confident in my research skills, and I got familiarized with email etiquette.
I came into college knowing I wanted to make a difference and leave an impact in some way. I struggled to find how I would accomplish this since I didn’t like doing math all day, I wasn’t the best at science, and I was easily bored by history. However, through this internship, I learned that my past experiences could help me determine what I want my work environment to look like. I liked helping my community through community service, being able to talk to people one-on-one about their social issues, and reading and writing about topics I am passionate about. I learned that I might want to become a lawyer and that I had the skills to do so.
Even though I am pretty certain about my decision, I will continue to explore my options both educationally and professionally. The point is, don’t feel like you have to do certain internships or follow just one path. Exploring is learning what you want for your professional self in the future and there is nothing wrong with that.