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Irene Liao
Genetics and Plant Biology major
Samantha Bell
Microbial Biology major
Jena Riggert
Forestry and Natural Resources major
Dale Dualan
Conservation Resource Studies major
Stephen Kwan
Molecular Environmental Biology major
Kay Jiaqi Yang
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics major
Tiet Nguyen
Microbial Biology major
Selina Chou
Nutritional Science - Dietetics major
Jenn Jehnsen
Environmental Sciences major
Wendy Chen
Environmental Sciences major
Jessica LeBeau
Environmental Sciences major
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May 5, 2009

After graduation...

In two weeks I'll be graduating and leaving Berkeley. I wish I could stay longer because I love it here so much. But it'll also be exciting to move onto grad school and study what I really want to do. I'll be going to UCLA in the fall to start my masters in Library Science (yes, librarians actually need to have degrees!). Librarianship was always something I thought about doing, but I never considered it as a career for a long time. But I began thinking about it more during my sophomore year in college and it seemed like more of a feasible option. I also wanted to work with kids, and so a children's librarian seemed ideal to me. So in order to get more hands-on experience with education and the library, I decided to pursue the ed minor and I also began volunteering with the Berkeley Public Library. Both experiences were probably the most valuable ones I've had at Cal. Not that I don't like my major as well, but those two activities helped me to see what it is I really was passionate about and where my strengths lay.
So hopefully it's an encouragement for those of you who aren't completely content with your major or are still unsure about what you want to do in the future. It's kind of silly to think that what you study in college will determine what you'll be doing for the rest of your life. So no worries! Take the time to try different things :)

March 17, 2008

After Graduation...

I'm in my third year now in Environmental Sciences. And what do I want to do with my B.S. once I graduate? Become a librarian. Yes, I know it sounds completely random and unrelated, but that's my master plan. Right now I'm preparing for all those crazy grad school applications that I'll be sending in next fall. (Yes, librarians actually have to have a Master's degree in Library Science!)

So how did I come to this decision? I started to realize my sophomore year that I didn't want to pursue a career in Environmental Science. Not to say that I don't enjoy my major. I do. But I began to see that I just wasn't cut out for a science-related or even policy-related career. It's just not me. My strengths and interest don't really correspond to what I'm studying, and this was obvious whenever I got my grades back. I did the worse in my major's core courses and my best grades were in humanities classes. I knew that I enjoyed working with people, especially children, and I hoped that I would be able to incorporate that into my career. But I also knew that I wasn't cut out to be a teacher from a lot of previous teaching experience.
I began thinking about what kind of skills I have and what kind of jobs would complement my natural interests. I've thought about becoming a librarian dozens of times growing up but for some strange reason, I never took it seriously. But it popped back into my mind as I was contemplating all this. So I began to do some research and I also talked to a lot of family and friends. It's crazy because everyone I shared with gave me a lot of affirmation and encouragement about pursuing it!
I especially wanted to focus on children's and youth services as a librarian because of my passion for kids, and I decided that minoring in education would be a helpful and practical step. And that basically brings me to where I am right now. I'm almost done with my education minor and I love it. And now I'm in the process of preparing to apply for grad school.
If there's anything you can get out of my strange journey I hope it's the comfort and reassurance that you don't always have to know what you want to do in the near future. And it's okay to change majors or even pursue a major that may not necessarily be related to your future career. You should enjoy what you're studying. But also seek after what you really love (whether it's major-related or not) and what brings out your best :)

How I picked my future career....

Wow, this is my last semester here; time has flown by so quickly! As I look forward to finishing my undergrad time at Cal, I also can’t wait to start my new plans after I graduate. First thing on my to-do list: SLEEP!!!! (Yes, this merits four exclamation marks.) I’m actually going to take a year off before heading to optometry school in order to enjoy what precious time I have before another four years of school. So how did I decide upon optometry school? That’s a great question….my story goes like this:

As a freshman, I needed a few more units to add to my schedule so I decided to take a vision science freshman seminar (Vis. Sci. 24). We would just sit with the professor and dispel eye/vision myths that we all thought were true. Like, sitting too close to the TV, lasik = perfect vision, etc. –very casual and fun.

This sparked my interest in vision and eyes. Then, a series of events took place that sealed my interest tight. My mother was bordering on being diagnosed with glaucoma, but by working with her optometrist, she was able to prevent the disease. I started thinking to myself, “Wow, this person was able to catch certain signs that prevented my mother from potentially losing her vision—that’s pretty amazing.” I hadn’t thought about my vision and how precious I value it until someone I knew could have had it taken away.

Then, I started going to some Foresight (pre-optometry club on campus) meetings and different representatives would come and try to “sell” their campus to us. After researching optometry as an occupation, I started to understand how valuable optometry is to a community and how interesting their job is. Then, I started shadowing/interning at an optometry office. This was the best-I learned (and still learning) what it takes to be a great optometrist, and how rewarding it is to run an office.

Now, I’m actually working at that office and having a blast. I look forward to work every week, and have a blast when I get there. Next year, I will be studying for the OATs (optometry admission test) and applying to different optometry schools throughout the nation, and hopefully get into a normal sleeping cycle!

Is optometry for you? Want more info? Come share your career plans with us during the PAL office hours! I would love to hear about your future plans!

March 14, 2008

Deciding what to do...

...after I graduate.

Deciding on postgraduate plans is a continuous process. For me, my plans evolved throughout pretty much all four of my undergrad years. It went something like this:

First I entered Cal as a freshman BioE major. I had done some research in high school, loved it, and thought for sure that'd I'd do that as a career. Maybe a PhD?

Then I took Chem 3A spring semester of my freshman year and hated it. This was a turning point for me, as I really began questioning whether I wanted to be in the sciences. At the same time, I took NST 10 and really like the course.

Summer after freshman year, I transferred into CNR as an NST major, emphasis in physiology and metabolism. Fall semester, I started working at an IB lab at Berkeley.

Then I took an English R1B course sophomore year on Cultural Studies, which really piqued my interest in writing. By the end of the spring semester, I was seriously thinking of majoring in English. What ultimately kept me from declaring was the L&S breadth requirement, which I hadn't fulfilled. So I ended up minoring in English instead.

The summer after my sophomore year, I interned at a doctor's clinic and developed an interest in medicine.

Junior year came and I took the MCAT and worked towards completing my major and minor.

Summer after my junior year, I applied to MD/PhD programs.

Senior year: I've been going to interviews and finishing up my coursework!

So that's my college life story in all its randomness. Ultimately I did figure out what I wanted to do. The best piece of advice I can give is to keep an open mind and pay attention to what piques your academic interests.