Julia Eger, Harvard College Class of 2014
I’m going to be honest here: when I started at Harvard, I thought my position as a counselor-in-training at my childhood summer camp was more or less the epitome of an internship. Global health, green construction, and marketing were foreign terms to me as a freshman, and I was so taken aback when my Harvard friends started discussing their summer internship plans that I wasn’t sure where to look for answers. Conveniently, that was about the time I started working as one of two marketing and social media assistants at the Office of Career Services. When I began, the idea of an internship search was daunting and foreign. After my first few hours in the office in September, my perspective already began to completely transform.
Looking back on my first year at OCS, I have come to understand what many students, like my freshman self, often don’t realize: just how many opportunities are available to us here at Harvard. Events – panels, receptions, career fairs – take place every day and cover what seems like a limitless scope of options. As a blogger for many of these events, I can personally say that they were more informative and interesting than I could have imagined, always broadening my horizon of fields that I had ever thought to pursue. Besides the obvious highlights of my work here – like standing face-to-face with Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook event this past fall, or getting to eat Eritrean food and listen to stories about experiences in Africa in March – each event has taught me something new. Attending these events not only brought upon new knowledge and perspectives on what’s out there, but taught the importance of searching for what is out there.
I’ve learned this year that OCS is always the place to go first. The staff is well-informed, well-connected, and well-versed: they know what it’s like to be a student looking for a job, internship, or fellowship—or a study abroad or research opportunity— and they’ve seen a case like yours before. Reassuringly, my interactions with them proved that the advisers wanted me to succeed as much as I wanted to, making the search less of a chore and more of an explorative project.
I’ve come a long way since my naïve days of thinking OCS was only for upperclassmen; there is something for everyone here. Stop by during office drop-in hours at 54 Dunster Street in your first weeks at Harvard. Introduce yourself to the advisers, peek around the office. Of course, you’ll be back later — to get help with your resume, seek more information on summer options, or attend a workshop or information session. But with a campus as expansive as ours, knowing where to start is half the battle. There’s so much to learn, and OCS warmly opens its doors to you.