Working with the Economic Awareness Council (EAC) has given me exposure to a wide range of professionals. Going all over Chicago to give financial literacy presentations, I have worked with bankers, artists, museum directors, etc. Towards pursuing an Economics B.A. degree, I’ve always been anxious at having an unclear idea of a future career path. But from meeting professionals who frequently adjusted their own routes, they’ve further taught me what’s important: having versatile experiences that allow me to expand my perspectives. Some of these experiences happen in the office as well, when guest speakers are brought in to share their own stories/opportunities. Recently, I learned a lot about the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Program when the Chairman and a Director from CFA Chicago came out to talk with us. The credential, offered to financial and investment professionals through a series of exams, is something that I could really be interested in pursuing later on.
One of the learning goals for this internship is to improve my public speaking and presentation skills. So, I would review the materials and practice before mustering up the courage to stand up and face the students. But as I did this a couple times, I realized that I needed to adjust this goal I previously made. It’s not difficult to memorize a bunch of information and regurgitate it to an audience. It takes much more to establish a genuine connection with those you’re speaking to. In order to convey the importance of the knowledge imparted, I started to place less of an emphasis on not stumbling or hesitating and more on actually ensuring that students understood and cared about the material. This way, I found that confidence comes naturally because I’m able to establish one-on-one relationships that allow me to communicate on a personal level.
Upon reflection, these experiences do more than just expose me to a variety of career possibilities and get me thinking about my own path. They furthermore help me realize what I want to be doing regardless of my future career. Having interacted with so many active community members who are eager to help in whatever way they can, I find that their willingness to give is what makes initiatives like ours attainable. This summer internship experience is further helping me see that I strongly value community and youth outreach. Whichever sector and whatever company I may end up working in, I want to instill the importance of education by taking time to reach out to local communities and finding ways to learn from each other. Taking moments to truly reflect on an experience can give you so much. Not often do I consciously remember to do so when bombarded with exams and papers, but I am glad to have the chance this summer.
Written by Amy Jin BC Class of 2018