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Unforeseen Circumstances

How to deal with unexpected changes in your career path!

April 11, 2017 12:28 PM

Last spring, I was going through the internship application process for the first time. I had put together various forms of my resume and had written different cover letters for around six different internships. At the end of the process, I had found out I had only been offered a spot with two organizations. Thankfully, one of those spots was with my top choice, but it was still disheartening to get rejection after rejection.

My acceptances weren’t sent to me until mid-April, after I had been rejected from the four other places. So essentially, the first two weeks of April I was a big ball of anxiety. Instead, what I wish I had done was try to find other options for the summer. Even if it wasn’t an internship, I wish I had looked into volunteering.

I have a lot of students come in for drop-in appointments (2-4 PM Monday to Friday on the 2nd floor of Math and Psych) and tell me that they didn’t think that their volunteering experience was important enough to put on their resumes. Employers love to see that you’re giving back to your community. Plus, you gain transferable skills in almost everything that you do, even if you’re not paid.

I also wish I had realized there are tons of options for volunteering within my field. I had the ability to work within my field over the summer even if I didn’t get an internship. For example, I’m a Political Science major. Last spring the election was the talk of the town- I could have easily volunteered for a campaign.

Something else that I wish I had done was talk to people I knew. I should have asked my professors whether or not they had anyone that they could put me in touch with. I could have even asked the firm I interned with over the winter whether or not they had a spot for me over the summer.

If I hadn’t gotten my internship, the one thing I think I would have focused on was studying for my LSAT. Just because we don’t have school during the summer, doesn’t mean there’s nothing productive that can be done. The LSAT is probably the most important part of my law school application process. It’s truly a test of practice- the more you take it, the easier it gets. Starting early would have been extremely beneficial to me. Looking back now, I wish I had focused more on it last summer, even having an internship.

Just because something happens that prevents you from moving forwards with your original plan, doesn’t mean you won’t be successful. Come hear about the paths UMBC alum took after they graduated! This is a perfect chance for you to ask questions about how to deal with unforeseen  circumstances. The panel will be on 4/27 from 12PM-1PM in Commons 331. The alum graduated with majors in many different disciplines - from history to computer science.

My point is simple; even if things don’t go as planned, don’t let it get you down. Use it as motivation to start a new path and open a new door. Go volunteer, get ahead on your studying, the possibilities are endless. You never know what you can gain by things going differently than planned.
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