Tuesday, September 10, 2019

I Didn't Fail, It Was a Learning Experience

This semester, I am entering my seventh year here at Hofstra University.  I started out as an eager first-year student, ready to delve into my students and get involved as much as possible in campus life. I declared my major as foreign language education, joined some clubs, and landed a job as an Undergraduate Assistant in the Career Center. Everything was great and my life was totally planned out...or so I thought.

As my sophomore year quickly approached, my position as the Career Center made me start to question my commitment to becoming a language teacher post-graduation. I was constantly surrounded by networking and employment opportunities that spoke to the Zarb Business School population and began to question my motives behind choosing a career path. Was I in it for money and job security? Was I the type of person who needed to wake up in the morning knowing that I was doing what I love? Did I need to help others to feel fulfilled? In search of these answers, I ended up switching my major to marketing and getting an offer to intern at Nasdaq for the summer. Once again, I felt like my life was totally planned and I was ready to go.

The summer of 2015 was an absolute disaster. I lasted THREE DAYS at my Nasdaq internship before realizing that Corporate America was not my scene. I quickly understood that I liked learning about business in a classroom setting but not actually working in that environment, which left me at a complete and total loss. I ended up begging for my job back at the Career Center and starting from square one.

After some serious soul searching, I realized that all my all my paths led me back to one spot: The Career Center! Although I am forever grateful for my Hofstra education, my most profound learning happened through my experiential learning opportunities. I discovered that I belonged in the field of Higher Education through my work in the Career Center, and that I very much did not belong on Wall Street as a result of my experience at Nasdaq. Seven years later, I am a full-time Career Advisor in the very same space that gave me my first experiential learning opportunity and I still love what I do.

So, as you embark on this new semester, my parting words of wisdom are these: Experiential learning is key! Take advantage of every opportunity that allows you to gain experience within your field. As intimidating as starting your career may be, you should never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!

Sabrina Iaria
Career Advisor, Liaison to the Frank G. Zarb School of Business

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