Author: Isaiah Chu, Senior
When it comes to a professional network, you won’t find one better than the one forged through the Fordham Rose Hill Honors Program. As a senior in the Honors Program and the head of the Professional Development Committee, I’ve had the chance to both plan and participate in an incredible array of professionally-related activities. From resume and cover letter workshops to entire alumni panels, my career ambitions have been assisted in an infinite number of ways by these programs.
One annual professional development program that has been incredibly helpful is the Honors Alumni Network. After opting in, current students are matched with an Honors alumnus in their desired field. In my sophomore year, I was matched with Mr. Tom Pecoraro, an attorney and the co-founder of his own HR consulting firm, Excelerator Consulting. As my mentor, he provided a constant stream of advice to help me discover my interests and next steps professionally. He was especially helpful in networking; he introduced me to several attorneys from all walks of life who helped me understand the full breadth of the legal profession. It’s been two and a half years since we met through the Honors Alumni Network and he still provides helpful advice despite his busy schedule.
In fact, last week Mr. Pecoraro was the guest speaker at a professional development event for the entire Honors community. He was invited to share his experience, both in Honors and professionally. Among the great advice he gave, two points stood out to me.
First, in the spirit of the Jesuit tradition, make sure to always self-reflect. Whether it’s every day, every week, or even once a month, take some time to think about where you are, what your interests are, and where you want to be. One of the great strengths of the Honors Program is that you can explore many disciplines while also building up analytical skills that will allow you to succeed in a variety of fields. In reflecting on where you want to be, make sure you create a plan. Your goals can be as simple as meeting a new person, joining a club, or just watching an interesting movie about your field, but a constant self-evaluation and goal-setting cycle is essential.
The second important piece of advice was to do what you like. On the surface, this sounds simple, but many students get stuck in the mindset of needing to do what “looks good” rather than what they enjoy. This isn’t to say that you should avoid opportunities, but you should use every opportunity as a learning experience that furthers your understanding of your interests. If you learn from a volunteer position or internship that you have no interest in your intended profession, then maybe it’s time to pick something new! For me, my interests have meandered from engineering, politics and law to economics, math, and finance. I was only able to decide where I wanted to be by trying every opportunity, reflecting on my experiences, and slowly pivoting towards what my true interests were. After all, finding a career that truly suits your interests is one of your most important jobs as an undergraduate.
With everything I’ve learned so far through the Honors’ professional development programs, I can’t wait for future events. With two more upcoming alumni speaker events, as well as a networking session that I am helping to lead, I hope I can continue connecting with amazing alumni and fellow students in my last semester as a student in the Honors Program.