My college goal was always focused and centered around the liberal arts but big into resources and opportunities.
I wanted to continue to learn holistically about the world but was unsure if there were any smaller schools out there that provided opportunities comparable to those of larger schools. Then I found Occidental, which checked off all the boxes and specifically had a program called InternLA that helps Oxy students gain internships in its location of Los Angeles. Among other reasons, including its Diplomacy and World Affairs program, this all sounded perfect for me.
Coming into Oxy, I knew that InternLA was generally for upperclassmen so I wanted to be as prepared as possible throughout my first year. During orientation, I went to an info session about the Hameetman Career Center, or HCC, on campus and I remember my mom telling me, "Ooh Johnny you need to build a relationship with them," so I did, and it’s been one of my best decisions so far. Not only has it been helpful in terms of my career, but thanks to Oxy’s welcoming and tight-knit community, it was so easy to do so. The staff have all the time necessary for students. All you have to do is go in the Career Center, even if it’s just to study (disclaimer: there’s just the right amount of background noise).
Although not many specifics were given about InternLA itself, there was so much encouragement to start preparing early. For me, that was a big factor, as many other schools either don’t mention internships at all or only do so for juniors or seniors, so this was really refreshing and motivating to get started. One specific exercise we did in Ascend was an online questionnaire to find out your own strengths and weaknesses and how to encourage or work on them.
I remember one question being: "You would want to sing in a rock band if you could" which I of course put a smiley face to, because if the opportunity was there, who wouldn’t take it? This experience helped me to learn that I am creative with entrepreneurial qualities and someone who dislikes conformity.