The Viterbi Career Expo, a career fair just for engineering students

Being a senior means that I have a lot of classes, projects, and leadership commitments that take up lots of my time. It’s also my last year living at school with all my friends, so I have to make time for exploring the city and staying up late into the night doing weird things like rearranging furniture in our apartment.

It also means that I need to figure out what I want to do next year.

Of course, there’s lots of options
Grad school
Job part time + grad school
1-2 year international service fellowship
Moving back in with the parents, complete with home-cooked meals, free laundry, and a total lack of spending money

So I’m stuck here with a Rebecca Black conundrum. Which seat can I take?

Ok, so some of those options are jokes. Namely homelessness. Hopefully the moving back in with my parents, too, but hey, at least I have it as a fall back plan. When I first started thinking about next year, I considered applying for a program like the Peace Corps or a Fulbright Grant, but eventually I decided that I really want to get into the civil design field and start getting some bona fide experience under my belt. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my involvement with Engineers Without Borders and my internship last summer, it’s that school is great and teaches you a lot of relevant knowledge, but that there’s no substitute for just getting out and working. I’m still weighing my options in regard to grad school (if I do it next year, I will probably work at least part time), but I’m pretty sure that I want to start work.

Thus, my current position in life as a job seeker. There’s really a lot more to the process than I first thought. I spend a lot of time
researching companies online
talking with friends who have had internships/full-time work at various places
attending info sessions and workshops put on by Viterbi Career Services
editing my resume
getting advice from older people I respect like parents, advisors, and family friends
preparing for events like the Viterbi Career Expo or VINE, the Viterbi Industry Networking Event
feeling comfortable about my position
feeling completely overwhelmed
and a little bit of both

Not to mention all the time spent washing and ironing all my business attire.

VINE, the Viterbi Industry Networking Event

Essentially, what I’m learning is that searching for the right job is a full time job in itself. Luckily, I’m not doing this alone. I have a wide network of friends, family, colleagues, and a great career center that are more than willing to walk through the process with me. I have the background of [almost] four years of a great engineering education. More than the technical skills, though, my time at USC has allowed me to
take on leadership
problem solve with all kinds of different people
travel the world
work cross-culturally
learn how to balance a busy schedule and manage my time
and a wealth of other, subtle skills

I know that wherever I end up next year, I won’t know how to do everything most things. But I am confident that when I do come across situations that I don’t know how to handle on my own, I will know how to ask for help.