As any college student knows, life on campus is filled with as many challenges as there are opportunities to enjoy oneself. Keeping up with your regular coursework, studying for finals, or even finding the right balance between work and play can stress out even the most well-adjusted student. However, for most students, the biggest challenge comes when they try to answer the following question: What am I going to do once I graduate? As a rising senior in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I watched a number of friends struggle as they searched high and low for a profession that they believe fits them and their personalities. Because the majority of my friends are nearing the end of their college career, this quest has intensified and has left even the most collected of them in disarray and in full “panic mode.”
Fortunately, my experience with professional development, career searching, or whatever you want to call it has gone essentially in the opposite direction and has been much less stressful as a result. For a number of reasons, but primarily because there are so many of them in my extended family, I have always known that I wanted to be an attorney. While I have never known which area of law I wanted to specialize in as the attorneys in my family practice in a number of different fields, I do know that owning and working in my own small firm is much more appealing to me than working for a “big law” firm in a city. Thus, when I heard that Simonetti & Associates—a small, privately owned divorce and family law firm located twenty-five minutes from my house—was looking for a summer intern back in May, I quickly called the office to apply. I heard about the position through a family friend who happened to be a former client of Louis Simonetti’s—the firm’s founder and owner—and has been close friends with him ever since their business relationship ended.
At first, during the application process, I was very skeptical about the position because although I was, and still am, unsure of which area of law I want to specialize in, divorce and family law is certainly not it. I was scared that I was simply going to get lost among the messy divorce cases. However, the ability to learn more about the legal profession and practicing law in general coupled with the chance to see how a small firm operates was an opportunity that I simply could not pass up. Since I began here at Simonetti & Associates, my experience has mostly been one of learning and networking. Learning in the sense that I get see “in’s and out’s” of how a small firm runs including, among other things, how it generates new business, how it maintains a good relationship with its clients, and how the attorneys work with one another around their hectic schedules. Networking in the sense that I have met a surprising number of attorneys who have not only stayed connected with the law school they attended, but are also willing to reach out to their fellow alumni in hopes that they will be able to help me with my own law school application process.
As a result, I could not be happier that I decided to take the position despite my initial doubts. My advice, given my personal situation, to anyone attempting to figure out their future through an internship would be this: Do not be scared to take an internship even though it might not be everything you want. For me, Simonetti & Associates had good parts and bad. But I did not count it out; I tried to be as open as possible while still focusing on the aspects that could really help me. In the end, the position had more benefits than I initially expected anyway and I believe that the same could happen for you as well.
Christian Bennardo is a rising senior majoring in History, and minoring in Economics.