No one can deny it — college can be downright excruciating at times, especially at a technical school such as Florida Tech.
All the advanced classes, hours of homework, solitary and group projects, undergraduate research, extracurricular activities, and so forth. It can all be a bit overwhelming as senior year approaches, which brings on a whole new load of stress in the form of graduation forms, senior showcase, and figuring out what to do post-graduation. Most seniors I know are just ready to graduate by the time this comes around.
But, for prospective students out there, I am telling you the momentary time here at college is worth it. One student made the observation a few weeks ago that in order to make it at Florida Tech, you need to have at least some ambition. As far as I have seen, it’s a fairly accurate statement. Whether you’re in science, engineering, aviation or business, the majority of students here want to land a well-paying job after their education and try to make a difference in the world or at least contribute to their chosen area of study. An example of the wide-range of career goals I have heard about from people around me include work in national security, building spaceships, flying for Delta, developing new software, teaching and scientific research. And Florida Tech can definitely help all of them on their way to achieving any one of those.
For current students, stick with it and take advantage of being a student. Florida Tech hosts numerous information sessions from local industries every year, which can help you figure out what you are interested in and hopefully open some doors to internships and/or jobs. The Career Fairs each semester also aid in this.
Here’s something I didn’t find out about until my senior year: Panther Career Link, which is open to all students. This site allows you to create a profile and then search and apply for positions, both internships and jobs, from various employers. I would highly recommend activating your account now and signing up to get email updates about upcoming positions. It makes it much easier than just Google searching “internships,” which can work, but you will have to sift through quite a lot of them. The Panther Career Link is a good way to see what kind of employers are out there and active in hiring recent graduates, as well as informing you of upcoming events and workshops.
My point: hard work pays off!
Sometimes it might not seem that way, like in the middle of semester when there seems to be no end in sight to the amount of work needed to be done. Personally, I have seen the payoff of hard work through internship offers, both last summer at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and this summer from AFRL and the Department of Energy. Many students also get internships with Lockheed Martin, Harris Corp., Rockwell Collins, and various REU program (Research Experience for Undergraduates) via the National Science Foundation. All of those also employ students after graduation. Just remember not to be too picky about your first research experiences (I wouldn’t be afraid to travel either; that will severely limit your opportunities!) and apply to multiple offers. You will be glad of your hard work in college if you stick with it, I promise.