My First Year at Career Advancement

Monday, January 30, 2017 - 15:00

Being an adult, or at least trying to be, is scary (to say the least). College is a whole collection of adult responsibilities thrown at you at once, from remembering to eat three (healthy!) meals a day to doing laundry for yourself. The thought of finding a summer internship on my own seemed like just one more thing I wasn’t prepared for, until I encountered the wonderful lifesaver that is UChicago’s Career Advancement.

I was assigned my first-year career adviser before school even started. All incoming students meet with their advisers during Orientation Week, where they explained how Career Advancement can help us, what typical timelines were for summer internships and jobs, and reassured us that they would do everything they could to help us receive substantive, enriching positions. I met with my adviser about a month later to go over my résumé, again a few weeks later to help look for internships, and have continued meeting with her regularly and emailing her ever since. She connects me with positions that she knows I’ll be interested in, is more than happy to spend over an hour helping me with my cover letters, and answers all of my questions, and I can’t thank her enough!

Besides general, assigned advisers, Career Advancement also has advisers dedicated to specific industries. Last month, I had a moment of panic where I decided I wanted to go to law school yet had no idea what the concept of “Pre Law” entailed. Luckily, I was able to promptly make an appointment with the Careers in Law adviser who dispelled all of my concerns and explained what UChicago students who go to law school typically do during their undergraduate years, including the UChicago Law School Mentor Program, where undergraduates are paired with students in the Law School who then act as advisers. Students in the program can sit in on law school classes and attend events to see firsthand what life in law school is like. She also showed me unique networking and scholarship opportunities available exclusively for UChicago students.

Another time Career Advancement was absolutely invaluable was when I got a very last-minute notice about an interview for an internship I was applying for. Luckily, in addition to being able to speak on the phone with my adviser, I had the opportunity to have a practice interview in the Career Advancement office. This hour-long conversation helped prepare me for my real interview, in addition to providing me with valuable feedback about how I compose myself in professional situations. 

One of my favorite opportunities Career Advancement offers is the Metcalf Internship program. Through this program, the University finds and then connects students with paid internships (about 2,000) that supply substantive experience. Every week, Career Advancement sends out a list of all of the available Metcalf Internships (this week there are 278!). I am in the process of applying for some this summer, and can’t wait to take advantage of this resource over my four years!

Even over just my first quarter of college, Career Advancement has been an amazing resource. A few Saturdays ago, I spent all day in downtown Chicago at a networking/career exploration event called Taking the Next Step. I got to attend panel sessions, meet, and even eat lunch with hundreds of UChicago alumni in a wide array of career fields. While I still haven’t even decided on a major yet, I am so happy to have Career Advancement helping me with arguably one of the more daunting aspects of adulthood!