Below is a guest post by Samantha Marinelli, a member of BRIDGE Society and the BRIDGE Social Media Committee.
Last Thursday, the BRIDGE Society held a Networking and Mentoring event in the West Lounge with professionals in the fields of Psychology, Sociology, and Education. Over forty students attended to hear from these professionals about respective fields and to ask questions about their experiences—professionally or even personally.
The room was set up very comfortably for conversation. There were small circles of chairs where several students sat with a few professionals in each groups. In my particular group, we had professionals who were all associated with the educational system Katina Sawyer, a Villanova alumna, and now a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University, shared her experiences about deciding on her undergraduate major, which ultimately led to where she is today. Through her professional career Katina has obtained a dual-Ph.D. in “I.O” or Industrial Organizational Psychology as well as Women’s Studies. It was fascinating to learn how Katina combined the industrial and corporate aspect of Psychology with the treatment of women in the workplace. The majority of her researched focused on this combination of topics. This was fascinating and showed that any combination of majors or specializations IS possible, if that’s what you’re interested in.
We were also joined by Seton M. Feeney, a Villanova alumna who majored in English, who went on to Columbia to obtain a Masters in Social Work. Her work now, at Oakland Public Schools in New Jersey, assesses students in pre-school through eighth grade to determine their needs for special education or case management programs. This was a very different road to take from her previous desire to work in journalism or public relations with her English degree.
Kelly O’Leary, also a Villanova alumna, works as Principal of St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven, Connecticut. This faith based, volunteer and fundraising driven, academy helps to break the cycle of poverty through education. Ms. O’Leary received her undergrad at Villanova in Biology. She found of her love for service through Campus Ministry and was inspired to take a gap year to volunteer; this ultimately became her fulltime job after receiving a Masters in Teaching.
Each of these women, and the other professionals, gave us plenty of insight on not only maneuvering the professional world, but how to get the most out of our time spent at Villanova.We were encouraged to take advantage of all of the great experiences right at our fingertips. Below I’ll highlight some lessons that stuck out for me. I jotted down these quick tips and quotes , as they really rung true to me:
• Don’t burn your bridges. You never know when you might need someone’s help down the road.
• You never know where opportunities are going to develop. Let them!
• Be self aware. Know the kind of person you are, your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and play off of those. “Stupider people than I have attempted.” You can do it!
• Playing off of that, “assume competence.” You can do just about anything you set your mind to.
• Consider other points of view. No matter your major or field of study, you will work with other people some day with differing opinions than yours. Have an open mind.
• Show up on time, always! Be polite in the work place and respectful to co-workers. And definitely do not text on the job.
• Learn the expectations at a place you are or wish to be, and exceed them. This will help you become a leader.
• Get involved! Make choices that will benefit you and show that you are a leader. Take every opportunity to get.
So get out there and seize the opportunities, `Nova students! Be sure to check out all of the other cool opportunities The BRIDGE Society has planned for this semester.