As a senior in their last semester of college, it’s crazy to think back to almost four years ago as a high school student, and think of how far I’ve come! Even a year ago, I would look up at seniors who seemed so put together, and think “that could never be me”.

Well, I’m here to share, it can absolutely be you. Being at USC and in college has taught me so many valuable life skills, in so many ways. The most unique lessons I’ve learned and the area I’ve grown the most in, however, is professionally. My freshman year of college, I had a weak resume, was terrified of networking events, and could not imagine what an interview would look like. As a senior, I’m still pretty nervous at professional events, but feel much more equipped and able to navigate these situations.

Learning professional skills has come primarily from my organizations, interactions with upperclassmen, and time spent in internships and professional events. Through student orgs, I’ve been able to attend events like resume reviews, alumni Q&As, elevator pitch workshops, and mock interviews, which have all shown me what and what not to do in these situations. I learned a lot of fundamental skills these ways, and can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get involved in a professional organization in college to gain these skills.

Outside of orgs, having upperclassmen friends has given me great insight on important professional tools and resources. Being able to ask upperclassmen to look at my resume, help me pick out a professional outfit for an interview, or figure out what jobs to apply to is so valuable. It’s likely that, if you have friends who are upperclassmen, they would be happy to support you professionally, you just have to ask.

The final way I’ve learned many of my skills has been through time spent in professional environments. Diving in headfirst is one of the best ways to do things, and that holds up for professional opportunities. Even if I fumble, going to career fairs and talking to recruiters, applying to jobs online that I’m interested in, interviewing with companies I apply to, and working in professional internships are great ways to gain experience and confidence in navigating professional situations.

It’s important to remember that if you enter college as a 17-19 year old, you’re going to have to learn a lot of skills throughout your four years before you graduate. But, if you give yourself the opportunities to grow, you’ll have a lot of valuable experiences and resources under your belt to take with you when you’re done. Good luck, and fight on!

Christina Najm

Christina Najm

MAJOR: Environmental Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @cnajm5 On campus I conducted undergraduate research in wastewater treatment technology through the environmental engineering department and am involved in Alpha Omega Epsilon (a social and professional sorority for women in STEM), the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and the Society of Women Engineers.

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