As a small fish in a big sea, it’s hard to believe that a school as large as UNC-Chapel Hill would tailor to many different career paths of students. However, through University Career Services I realized that there are many events designed specifically for students whether or not they have declared a specific major. My sophomore year I was enrolled in Education 131. One of the requirements of this course was to attend a panel or a networking night. I continued to put off this required event. One day I chose to attend a panel. This panel consisted of employees from non-profit organizations. As I sat in the audience I was extremely nervous to speak with the employees. Following the panel discussion the members of the panel opened the floor to questions as many students gathered around them. I realized these panel members were here to speak to all students, and I should not be shy during such a potentially rewarding experience. At this moment I gained the confidence to speak to a woman that worked at an organization of my interest. Following the conversation, I received the employee’s contact information. This was my sigh of relief because I knew I had finally stepped out of my comfort zone in efforts to further my career building.
Since my first panel, I have attended many more and worked shifts at quite a few. I have recently changed my career interest, and to my surprise University Career Services offered a panel for non-majors for my current interest. The panel members discussed their college, internship, and career paths. This panel allowed me to hear various stories pertaining to a single career. My biggest piece of advice is to research those organizations/employees expected to be in attendance at the panel or networking night. Being able to approach an employee with a great amount of knowledge about their company leads to a great conversation. As a student that was once too shy to take advantage of the services provided by UCS, I strongly advise students to attend panels or networking nights. Just the conversational atmosphere of a panel or networking night may lead students to gain the courage to speak to certain employees/companies. Through this service, many students may even meet a future employer!
Caitlin McCormick – Junior Psychology Major
UNC UCS Career Peer