Go all in, and it will work out
A current year-round intern at SAS and a Junior in Computer Science, I am starting to figure out what I want to do with my life: a conglomeration of tech, strategy, finance, and social entrepreneurship. I have, for a long time, desired to ‘make a difference’ and ‘change the world.’ But I never before took the steps to turn that dream into a reality. How could I? I didn’t even know what those things meant in my life.
So, leveraging UNC’s University Career Services heavily, as well as online job forums, I applied to over 40 internships last fall. I put myself in a position to make a choice, with the idea that I would learn more about myself over the course of the semester and that choice would be easier than deciding where to apply. I went that route, and it paid off, but the decision still wasn’t easy. I still didn’t know which internships would prepare me best for my future. So I made a gut decision, and I got lucky. But I went through a lot of extra effort to get there, and I now have a new perspective on the job/internship application process: think critically and emotionally about what you want your future to look like, prioritize what makes you happy (e.g. health, friends, wealth), and, based on those outcomes, apply to a place (or places) that will help you get where you want to end up. Then, make it happen. All effort spent on other applications is superfluous. Go all in, and it will work out.
With that extra time created by stream-lining the application process, you can then spend time making yourself a valuable asset in your field, making relationships (not ‘connections’) with people that can lead and guide you along the way, and doing what you love.
‘Connections’ is a popular term people use in business that really means ‘people that, if interacted with, can increase the probability of getting what you want.’ The Minor gives you an outstanding bank of potential ‘connections’ and avenues to leverage those connections for your own benefit. And that can be great if your sole goal is ‘success’ But I urge you to instead build relationships centered upon friendship, rather than prospective self-gain. That is where the value of the E-Minor rests: relationships. And those relationships will do more for you both personally and professionally than you can ever know.
Now, that you know what you want in life (or at least have thought a good bit about it), you know the areas in which you have a competitive advantage to ‘change the world.’ Afraid to start big projects? Afraid to take a leap of faith? Afraid to commit? Afraid of making the wrong decisions? Are you uncertain of your abilities? It’s okay. I am too, and I work to overcome those things everyday. But the only way to get past them is to jump in, trust yourself, and surround yourself with supportive, trusted sources of friendship and mentorship.
I have been doing a lot of soul-searching, and I am taking the steps to act on my ideas and change the world for the better. And I now know what that means in my life. And I can’t say that I have done it yet, but I know that I will because I’m moving in that direction. I’m just getting started, and maybe you are too, but I urge you to take those ideas flowing through your head and act on them. Join me on this journey. I don’t know where it leads, but I know I can get there. And I know you can too.
-Luke Fernandez, Minor in Entrepreneurship Student