My first career fair at Ohio State was the first day I felt as though I was a true college student. For the last month, I had been living in my dorm, making friends, adjusting to campus, and attending my classes. Yet, for some reason, it had never fully felt like I was in college. I still felt like a high school student, but now living on a college campus. On September 19, I attended the Career and Internship Fair, held in the Ohio Union, where hundreds of companies came to meet with current OSU students to discuss potential careers. I was the only one of any of my friends to go to this career fair, since the employers typically are only looking for juniors and seniors. However, I decided to go anyway to see what it was like.
I dressed in my black three piece suit and leather flats and braved the blisters as I walked to the Ohio Union. I gripped the ugly, purple folder I had just filled with my frantically put together resume. I walked into the Union and up to the second floor, where I swiped my BuckID and was given a printed name badge. I then walked into the Grand Ballroom and was met with a sea of employers, company posters, and hundreds of college students.
I had never felt so out of place. I didn’t recognize a single person and everyone seemed to know what they were doing. I had no idea how to approach an employer, let alone talk to one. For a few minutes, I just debated leaving. My purple folder looked so unprofessional and I had just recently put together my resume. I had no idea if it was even the correct format. Everything inside me told me I wasn’t ready. I was only a freshman, so maybe I should just wait until next year.
I finally worked up the courage, took a deep breath, and walked inside the ballroom. I had looked up a few companies with chemical engineering positions prior to the fair and walked up to the first one I recognized. I didn’t know how to begin, so I just threw myself into conversation by introducing myself to the company representative, offering my resume, and talking about my career goals. As our conversation went on, I began to feel more and more comfortable. I realized that these employers didn’t care if I was a freshman. All they cared about was that I was a college student taking the initiative to find an internship to further my educational and career opportunities. I had several conversations with employers before the fair closed down and I returned to my dorm.
This experience made me much more comfortable attending career fairs and talking to employers. The following week, I attended the Engineering Expo. Now that I had experience, I was able to have several engaging discussions with employers. I felt so much more prepared and relaxed as I talked with the different companies that interested me. Even though I was one of the only freshman to attend the Career and Internship Fair, it was an incredible learning experience that has improved my conversation skills with employers. This experience was the first time I truly registered that my time at The Ohio State University is leading me to so many incredible opportunities in my future.