(Guest post by Bria Johnson ’15. You can reach Bria at email@example.com)
I can remember that exact reason I chose to attend the Sophomore Experience: I was unsure of what I saw myself majoring in, and I knew that it was the academic year to declare.
Like many people, one of my problems was that I found myself liking everything that I had done to some extent. Based on my classes, I felt like I could major in religion or biology or history or economics or really anything. I knew that I couldn’t do everything, but was unsure of how to narrow my choices.
I ended up talking to a fellow student about my problems, and she directed me to the Sophomore Experience. She had participated as a sophomore, and it didn’t take much convincing to get me to sign up.
The weekend was an amazing opportunity to reflect on myself and the effort that I was putting into the success of my own future and to see which major fit. Do you all remember taking StrengthsQuest as first-year students and seeing what your five strengths were?
During the Sophomore Experience, we spent a few sessions discussing how to actually apply our strengths to the things we do; we learned how to apply them to a major, career, or generally everyday life. If you are “Restorative” like me, then you might learn that you are resourceful and would do well in an environment that allows you to solve problems. I think that it’s important to figure out where your strengths lie, so that you can apply them to every aspect of your life. After all, there is no better way to explore your options than to start with the things that you’re good at.
I will now go ahead and spoil the ending of my Sophomore Experience for you: that Saturday was the day that I decided to major in Economics. The next question was how best to apply my skills and experience to finding an applicable internship.
I have heard from many sources that networking is the best way to achieve success in the search for an internship or job. Some sources even say that 80% of today’s jobs are landing through networking. So, it seemed like a good skill to learn.
I honestly had no idea where to start with the process and it seemed overwhelming — Dean Cochran had once even told me that each week you should spend three hours working on networking, the same amount of time you would spend attending a class. Before the Sophomore Experience, I did not have enough knowledge to spend an hour networking, let alone three each week.
After our session on networking, however, I found myself provided with so many ways to network that I might as well have majored in it. From using Linked-In to writing thank-you letters to creating your own business cards, the possibilities now seemed endless to me.
I honestly could go on for a while about how much I enjoyed the Sophomore Experience, but I think that it would be easier to tell you where it has brought me almost a year later. As a junior, I have been to The Space more times than I can remember to attend talks, get help preparing documents (like my resume) and sometimes just stopping by to talk to the staff when I just felt lost. These visits led to securing an internship, finding a mentor, selecting the right majors for me (economics and intercultural studies), gaining great contacts and friends and just overall feeling less stressed about where the future will take me.
I can’t say that attending the Sophomore Experience has given me all the answers, but it has led me down a path of more certainty. My biggest advice is don’t be afraid to stray from the path, you might find something of interest if you just look a little.
(Want to sign up for The Sophomore Experience? Visit www.wofford.edu/thespace/se14blog to register by December 13!)