A couple weeks ago, my campus held a panel of speakers who held jobs in the STEM field. Not going to lie, I only went to the panel because my professor was offering extra credit, but I'm so glad I went because all the speakers taught me so much about the field. Personally wanting to pursue a career in this field, it was especially inspiring how each of the speakers overcame hardships and self-doubt to get to the position they're in today. Long story short, here's what I learned after attending the panel.
It's never too late
One of the speakers was an optometrist, Dr. Vadas; attending university she wasn't really sure about what she wanted to do. She majored in Business, hated everything about it, and ended up failing her Freshman year of college. It was so bad that she had to go to the dean and talk about the situation. After talking to the dean and realizing that she hated her major she realized she wanted to do Optometry. Now a days there's so much stress about making it into Medical School. The criteria is mind-blowing and it is so competitive; One needs a high GPA, research, volunteer work, high MCAT work, and the list is endless. If you don't meet one of the requirements your application gets thrown out. After hearing Dr.Vadas and how she ended up as a doctor in the end even though she failed her first year of undergrad is very inspiring as in that it is still possible and that it is never too late to end up be what you always wanted to be.
One of the points that all four speakers stressed on is the importance of networking. Yes a strong GPA and extracurriculars look good on paper, but the main thing that gets you the job is networking and how well you sell yourself. One of the speakers made a point how, "Once you step into the interview room your resume goes out of the window. The image that you portray once you walk into the room is more important than what gets you the job."
Step out of your comfort zone
Another point all of them stressed on was about stepping out of your comfort zone; learning something new everyday, making something out of yourself, and make room for your friends and family. Show up to events because it presents an opportunity whether it be huge or minor. Take advantage of any sort of opportunity. Take people out to coffee because coffee in the work place is a gift from the gods. One of the panelists built her own house from scratch because she wanted to try something new; I mean talk about saving money.