I’ve always envied people who knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. It seems like I’ve been around them all my life: the kids in middle school who just wanted to follow in their parents’ footsteps, the high school geniuses who already had their dream med school picked out, and now my classmates at Hopkins, all of whom seem to be so put together, getting internships and working on research I could never imagine myself doing.
I remember my old elementary school had Monday morning assemblies every week. Each class from each grade would take a week, presenting something they were learning about or a project they were doing, sing some cheesy song or do a skit. My first-grade class was tasked with the presentation “My Future Career!” Daunting, isn’t it? It’s kind of funny in an ironic sense: Ask a random six-year-old walking down the street if they have their life figured out and their parents will look at you like you’re crazy but make it a school project and suddenly it’s fine and dandy! I know it wasn’t that serious in first grade. When my teacher asked what job I wanted to represent for the assembly, you know what I said?
And so far, nobody from that assembly has come busting down my door demanding to know why I haven’t applied to the US Postal service yet.
But that’s beside the point. My point is, even after years of preparation for the future, many questions from people trying to guide my path, classes taken and job fairs attended, I still don’t 100% know what I want to do with my life. I’ve considered a lot of things: trying to write a bestselling book, law school so I can live my Legally Blonde fantasy, and I even considered pre-med (that lasted about two seconds). Luckily for me (and anyone with similar struggles to myself), there’s still plenty of time, even if it doesn’t seem like it. And guess what? You’d be surprised how many of your classmates feel the same way.
That’s what I learned when I took Professor Leslie Kendrick’s “Media and PR in the Big Apple” Intersession course. This class was designed for current Hopkins students to learn about careers in marketing and public relations through classroom work, guest speakers, and New York executives.
During the first week of the course, we did exercises to improve our resumes and practice our elevator pitches and interview skills, and we also had the opportunity to hear from working professionals in marketing positions, many of whom were Hopkins alumni. The second week was filled with presentations and networking with speakers working at prominent NYC firms like Google, TikTok, Logitech, and AMC.
I was surprised when I got to know my classmates. There were so many different majors and backgrounds, and a variety of reasons for taking the class. Some were taking it for fun, or for a quick credit, but a few were like me: sophomores, juniors, even seniors who felt stuck in their journey. Many of the executives and alumni we heard from mentioned they were once in our position with the same worries and career concerns. Some of the guest speakers had majored in fields completely unrelated to marketing, or only added a marketing minor in their junior or senior year. And every single one of them echoed a similar sentiment: The time we have at Hopkins is the best time of our lives to explore new things, take new classes, and learn what we love to do, career worries aside.
I managed to stumble upon this class when browsing the Intersession courses being offered. I had never taken a marketing class or even thought about taking one. I enrolled, not knowing what to expect, thinking, if anything, it would be a fun and easy way to meet people and interact with some cool NYC companies. What I didn’t expect was two weeks filled with engaging speakers talking to us on a personal level about the work they love and how they got to where they are today, leaving me thinking “That’s what I want to do.” I’ve come out of this class not only with an added marketing minor but also the reassurance that this is the time to navigate life even if I don’t know where I’m going.