I graduated four months ago in May of 2018, and the days leading up to graduation were filled with excitement, fear, confusion, relief, and many other emotions that can’t properly be captured into words. Like a lot of people who walked the stage with me to get their undergraduate diplomas, I still wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do professionally. I hoped to start my career in something challenging yet rewarding, doing something that made a difference in the world but also helped me grow personally. I know – I sound like such a millennial. But, that’s the reality.
I was part of the Professional Program in Accounting for most of my undergraduate career and thought being a CPA was my calling. After doing an audit internship at a public accounting firm, I decided (2 months before graduation) that accounting, in any capacity, wasn’t for me. I believe the skills I learned during my time in Alpha Kappa Psi helped me navigate this shift in interest and be bold enough to make a career change during my senior year of college.
Not only could I approach my brothers for advice and support during this transition, but the hard skills I’d learned such as professionalism, public speaking, networking, and the ability to market yourself in a workplace setting really paid off. As I shifted into a Masters program in business analytics instead of accounting, I lagged behind my peers who had computer science backgrounds and were more suited for studies in data science. It was hard to keep up at first (and sometimes it still feels like I’m playing catch up), but I know I’ll always have my AKPsi brothers to lean on for support.
The skills I developed through this organization helped me land an internship in analytics and data visualization, which allowed me to gain real-time experience as I simultaneously built my technical proficiency through my classes. Not to mention, I enjoy it a lot more than accounting! The rigorous pledge process I went through to become an AKPsi brother taught me how to approach challenges and think of every obstacle as an opportunity to improve. I’m grateful that I had that experience, and I hope the new pledge class this Fall sees the same value in their experience.
Even though I’m technically still a student at UT Dallas, I feel like I’m maneuvering through life as an alum – always looking for professional opportunities and trying to start at that dream job. AKPsi has been pivotal in its role in helping me discover who I am and what I want to contribute to the world, as I’m sure has been the case for the rest of the brothers in the Mu Rho chapter. I’m grateful for the network and resources this organization has provided me with, and I’m excited to see where they will take me within the year!