While feeling the pressure of building my resume as I searched for internships and job opportunities this summer, I received what I thought was a piece of junk mail. It was an email offering me an interview for the medical director position at an internationally recognized culinary art school in New York City. At first, I laughed thinking it couldn’t possibly be a real job let alone one meant for me. But my laughter turned to excitement as I read the details with my name and information on it. This opportunity would allow me to lead a team on medical safety and prevention, something I learned a lot about but never had the chance to do. I quickly responded yes and received an interview date a few days later. I was offered the job on the spot.
Why am I telling you all of this? Going into my fourth year of college, I learned that it is easy to underestimate your potential. You may not realize it, but college is a time in which your personal, academic, and social aptitude improve at an exponential rate. During this time it is easy to underestimate the skills you have learned and developed. I have done this numerous times in the last few years, with this summer position being the most recent one. Most often, I found myself underestimating my own skills. I didn’t believe my work would be valued or acknowledged by people outside of college.
From my experience, Arcadia’s mission to grow and prepare students for work and service is carried out by all members of the Arcadia community. My professors have consistently provided real-world experiences within their lectures that go beyond the required material. Professors have always aimed to connect their materials to current events. It may not have seemed like it at the time, but this relevant method of teaching has given me a more advanced understanding of the academic and social environment I interact with every day.
Arcadia does not stop in the classroom. Arcadia strongly believes in voluntary opportunities like the e3 program, independent research, frequent job fairs, and so much more. In my first semester of college, I didn’t know much about these programs or opportunities. I avoided most of them, to be honest. This was a huge mistake. In my sophomore year, I began to attend more events and saw the benefits immediately. Things like my ability to communicate on a professional level and my understanding of the medical and biology field advanced more than I could imagine. I spoke with alumni, professors, and people within the field to learn more about what I was looking for in the future. I also gained experience volunteering at hospitals, conducting research with my professor, and shadowing physicians.
So, why did I not notice my potential? As with most things, we don’t realize their value until we look back with a new perspective. I never fully understood the significance of the skills I was learning until I used them in the real world. Receiving the position as medical director allowed me to reflect on all the essential skills I learned here at Arcadia and understand the potential that every student has.
My biggest recommendation to someone coming to Arcadia or attending right now is to step outside their comfort zone. Do what makes you uncomfortable and take advantage of the opportunities around you. Especially the unlikely ones.