Getting Lost and Finding Your Own Way

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This post was authored by Mika White

My friend Brin and I were so excited to be in Ethiopia – we heard it was a beautiful place with wonderful food and rich culture. We had planned this five-day trip as a visa-renewal trip, and after exploring the capital Addis Ababa for two days, chose something around #21 of things to do in Ethiopia on TripAdvisor: Wenchi Crater Lake. It sounded simple. To get there, we would take a bus from Addis Ababa to the small town of Waliso where we would take another local bus that would take us out to the crater lake and natural hot springs. We first made the mistake of thinking that it would be an accessible, commonly traveled-to place.

We boarded a bus that took us 9km out to the tiny town of Chittu and realized that we were still very far from the crater. The transportation system was completely incomprehensible – nothing was written down, there was no proper bus schedule, and we had no idea where we were actually going. The driver stopped and everyone unboarded the bus, so we had reached the end of the line, with no crater in sight. I felt like the idiot from An Idiot Abroad, trying to navigate in a country where I could communicate with virtually no one, with no cell phone service or proper instructions on how to get anywhere.

So here we were, two young white girls in this little town where no one could speak English, looking for a lake that turned out to be about 30km (about 18.5 miles) away. We weren’t aware of this minor detail, so after disembarking the bus at the end of the line, we just started walking down a never-ending road that seemed to be in the direction of the mountain. After walking for about an hour, we concluded that we weren’t going to make it in time. We ended up hitching a ride back to town to confirm with locals that there was no way we would make it to the mountain by nighttime.

That evening, after we took the same bus back to Waliso, we approached a large number of people at our restaurant to ask if they knew of any drivers in the area who could take us. We happened to meet the nicest people from Save the Children who offered to take us, since their office was apparently not far away. The next day, we headed out, passed the small village from the previous day, and made it to the crater. They joined us in our hike and made it the most spontaneous, memorable trip I’ve had. The crater and springs were as beautiful as we had hoped, but the journey made it even more special and worthwhile.

Crater Lake

A lot of things generally deemed unacceptable and careless are actually okay. It’s okay to be lost sometimes. It’s okay to wander and see what happens. It’s okay to rely on others. If you haven’t seen the parallels already, these hold true for the career path as well. Luckily, we have a lot of people who can help you figure out what you want to do when you are feeling lost. You can always call or schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor in the Stearns Center. Who am I to be speaking, as an undergrad who is just embarking on my own journey? I can speak from hearing the experiences of others, and from knowing that opportunities will arise, as long as I am attentive and working hard towards something.

Preparing for an Interview

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In my internship search, I have been on around 10 interviews so far in Boston. My first couple of interviews were pretty clumsy. Now, I am seeing offers from more of the interviews that I managed to get from companies than when I began. Getting an interview invitation is not easy but once you have got invited, it’s your chance to prove yourself to the employer. In this post, I want to share some tips that I learned in the past year about interviews according to my experiences.keyboard-417090_1920

Search About The Company, Industry, and Interviewer

One of the most important things before going to an interview is to get familiarized with the company and industry. By mentioning some information you learned during the interview, you can show your interest in the job to the interviewer. Moreover, it is critical to check the Linkedin accounts of interviewers. I learned this the hard way. In my first interview, the interviewer kept asking me about my finance experience even though it was a marketing position, and I said that I didn’t like my experience in finance field. Later, I figured out that the person who interviewed me had a finance background, and they wanted me to do the marketing for finance companies. I didn’t get the job but it was a great lesson for me to search about the interviewers before going to an interview.

Prepare a Short Pitch and Get Ready to Answer Questions

Confidence is the key in the interviews and to be confident, you must practice what you are going to speak a couple of times. Before going to an interview, it is important being able to talk about experiences and relevant skills. In addition, it’s useful to practice some answers to questions might be asked to you. There are some standard questions that I heard nearly all of my interviews. What makes you a good candidate for this position? Why you want to work here? What is your plan for the future? What can you bring to the company that others can’t? A company I went recently also asked me about what I am not good at doing so, this way I learned that I should also have an answer to negative questions. Check out a list of some common questions here.

Determine Some Questions

Almost all of the interviews end up with the question “Do you have any questions?”  In my first job interview, I was not prepared and ended up saying “No thank you, you already answered all of my questions.” But it was a short talk and I knew that not all of my questions got answered. So, I left the interview within 30 minutes dissatisfied.  Again it was a lesson for me that I have to prepare some questions before going to an interview. Now, I go into interviews with at least 3 questions. One about the company culture, one about the position and one related to experiences of the interviewer. This way even interviewer answered some of my questions I haven at least one question to ask to them.

Making it Count

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This is the first reflection entry written by current student, Manuj Goyal. Manuj will be sharing his journey with us as he travel abroad in India as part of his own self-directed Global Co-op focusing on the development work for his company, Turing Robotics.

Nike challenges us all to “Make it Count!” and as I sit here 30,000 feet off the ground, I wonder how I have come here. How am I going to make this count?

Sitting wrapped in a thick brown checkered blanket in the early hours of the day, I explain to a friend a simple feeling which ends up turning my world on its head. A feeling of empowerment, a feeling of longing, a feeling of love, a whirlwind of melancholy and utter bliss. That morning I realized my purpose, my drive, my power all came from a perplexingly simple word, love. A love for you, a love for me, a love for all my brothers and sisters, and for this beautiful life and world we have been given.

Acting on this feeling, surrendering to the fate the universe had decided for me, I bought a plane ticket to go half way around the world. I explained my journey to others, trying to figure it out myself. Am I backpacking, am I doing service, am I researching, is this really a co-op? How am I making it count? How am I taking this six month opportunity and creating an experience of a lifetime and getting invaluable insight and learning while sharing my love and serving my people?

black-and-white-flight-man-personAs I travel to India to learn about my country, serve the people of the world which has sculpted my life so profoundly, and to build a nonprofit organization to reduce child labor in the most rural areas of the globe, follow my journey as I answer these questions. Join me in giving back, in celebrating diversity, in expanding our potential and our world. Join me in a journey of discovery, service, and learning. Let’s make it count.