Wednesday, November 6, 2019

From College to the Real World

As the liaison to the Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I come across so many amazing students that are doing incredible things. Their stories of where they started to where they are going inspire me every day, and this is why I wake up every morning happy to come to work. One of those students, Rebecca Lo Presti, a graduating senior this upcoming May, who is majoring in history and double minoring in drama and French, recently shared some insight on her career path. She started off as a drama major and now loves working with museums and art. She told me: “I spent the first 19 years of my life thinking that I would go into theater. I am now so far away from those goals that my past self is barely recognizable”.

Rebecca is currently interning with the Nassau Museum of Art and is a Center for Civic Engagement Fellow here at Hofstra. She considered going to graduate school right after her bachelor’s degree, because of the common misconception that if you major in the Liberal Arts you have to get a graduate degree. This is certainly not the case, you can with a liberal arts degree get a job with a bachelor’s degree. Employers seek out liberal arts students because they learn skills in their classrooms that other majors may not, like writing, in depth analysis, and more… It is more about your personal interests and where you want to go with your career, and if your current degree can get you there. Rebecca realized that she didn’t have to go straight into a graduate degree because of where she currently works and the people she has met in her internships. She reflected by saying: “… Over the summer, I interned at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut. This museum houses two of Monet’s haystacks in addition to many other pieces by world-famous artists. The Hill-Stead also hosts a poetry festival in the summer that has welcomed MacArthur Fellows and New York Times bestselling authors. Despite this prestige, my boss did not have anything beyond a bachelor’s degree. She was in charge of both marketing and communications for the Hill-Stead, and she did this all with a BA. Moreover, my current boss at the Nassau County Museum of Art only has her BA, too. Her knowledge about art and museum studies is unparalleled by anyone else that I know, and I value every minute I spend interning for her. Although I will eventually go to graduate school, my bosses at my internships demonstrated that success is not intrinsically tied to one’s level of education.”

Rebecca also reflected that you need to be sure of what you want to go to graduate for and have passion for that degree and field. For her, she knows what she loves and wants to enter the workforce to get a clearer vision of what her graduate degree will be in. She said “As of now, I would like to work with museums and art. This might change, though. I do a lot of community engagement and grassroots activism on campus. These interests could lead to different job opportunities and career paths that I am not even aware of right now. When I go to grad school, I want my degree to be a reflection of where my career is at the moment and where it will be in the future. I simply don’t know what I will do for work. But that’s okay. I am excited to start working. I am excited to see what will happen. I will get to grad school, but for now, I am more than happy to enter the real world.”

So in short, we all have a beginning, but the rest of our stories are in our hands, are we going to get an advance degree, are we going to be a impactful part of the workforce? For Rebecca, she is ok with not knowing, but her undergraduate degree in liberal arts has taught her that what ever will come her way she is prepared for.

Sabeen Sheikh
Assistant Director, Outreach and Special Programs

Rebecca Lo Presti
Senior, History Major

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