By Silvana Vivas, Class of 2013
I’ve never gone on vacation for spring break. I’ve gone on H.O.P.E. trips every year since I arrived at Stonehill, but I decided to take a break now that it’s my senior year. It was then that I heard about the NYC Externship. I had always heard of it, but never really knew what it was. After doing a little research, I realized that the program was perfect for me; it allows students to polish their professional skills, explore possible career options, and learn about life in New York City. This was perfect for me because as a senior communication major and journalism minor, I knew I wanted to write and eventually move to a bigger city, but had no idea where to begin.
On the Externship, we met alumni who are now very successful at various NYC companies. We were able to ask them questions about what they did after graduating from Stonehill, how they ended up where they are now, and what the company they work at now is like. The great thing about it was the wide range of experiences—the various graduation years of alumni, where they work now, and their paths to get there. Some are very far along their career paths and others are just starting out, which gave us a variety of perspectives.
It was also nice that we met with some alumni and their colleagues outside of the office. Besides office visits, we went bowling, out to dinner, and to a party at the home of an alumnus. These opportunities allowed us to network further, but also learn how to act professionally outside of the office (you never know who you’re going to meet!). They were also a lot of fun, and Career Services also took the group out to a variety of places to bond, such as dinner and a Broadway show. The trip could be stressful at times, so it was nice to know the group was there for you.
Some students were lucky enough to leave with internship or job opportunities, but it definitely isn’t the end-goal of the trip. One of the most valuable things I came away with was that many people do not end up working within the field in which they received a degree. Many students limit their career options to their degree, and I have been trying to open my mind to other opportunities since the trip. I also learned that networking is very important: employers care about your resume, but your character will get people to remember you. Many alumni stressed the importance of building a relationship with everyone you meet as a professional. Now that I’m in the middle of my job search, I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip; it has provided with a fresh outlook that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.