A Future in Finance

Victoria Medina ‘22, Florida State University

Finance is all about the behind the scenes of a business! It includes how businesses make money, how they obtain the goods they are going to sell, and how they record all of this information in compliance with certain financial standards.

High school connections

High school really influenced my decision to pursue Finance. I was in a business club called DECA where  I completed a project called “Learn and Earn.” The whole concept of the project was to create a small business that would solve a problem in your high school. I competed with this project at both state and national levels, pitching my business idea to panels of judges. 

When I got to college and started taking business classes, I realized how fascinated I was with all the different parts that go into starting and running a business. This made me even want to start my own company! I soon settled on finance because of how much I enjoyed learning about the financial aspects of companies.

Favorite project

My favorite project I worked on for my major was filling out financial statements for a specific company. I really enjoyed seeing what a job might look like in the Finance realm in my future. Besides that, it allowed me to take a deeper look into everything a business does in order to run smoothly.

Future in Finance

I hope to work for a big corporation in their auditing sector after graduating. Further down the line from that, my dream is to own my own business. I plan to take everything I learn from my major and use it toward starting my own clothing company, or something in the fashion industry.

Common misconceptions

One common misconception about my major is it’s really hard and boring. I think it’s all about mindset. If you are interested in what you are learning and choose to put the time into it, nothing is as hard as it seems!

Career paths

There are many career paths available to those with a finance major. You can try stocks, commercial loans, financial analysis, investment advising, financial consulting, international trade, and so many more!

Tips for future majors

One major piece of advice I have for students looking to go into Finance is to not be scared of the hard prerequisites! I have talked to so many people who told me they don’t want to go into Finance or some other business majors because of the required math classes. I wouldn’t avoid a major that might help you achieve your goals just because a couple classes might scare you!

Literatura y Cultura: Studying Spanish

Sam Savello ‘18, Brown University

I was a Hispanic Literature and Culture major at Brown. It’s basically like an English major, but everything we read and wrote was in Spanish. The curriculum was very diverse: we analyzed Latin American film and poetry, studied the history of Spain, and delved into Spanish-English translation. I learned a lot about Spanish and Latin America culture, including topics such as immigration policies, stereotypes, identity issues, and traditions. 

Choosing Spanish

At the end of my freshman year, the only class I had actually enjoyed was my Spanish class. In high school, I loved taking AP Spanish, so my advisor suggested I continue taking Spanish classes and see what happened. I didn’t really think it would become my major, but I ended up falling in love with it. 

Favorite class

I enjoyed so many of my classes, but my favorite was called “Hispanics in the US”. The class explored the immigration trends of Latin Americans living in the US. We studied various Latinx-driven civil rights movements and the literature that surrounded them. We read the work “Puerto Rican Obituary” by Pedro Pietri, a slam poem that discusses the experience of Puerto Rican immigrants living in New York and the issues they faced as they navigated a new country. This is what inspired my senior thesis.

Favorite project

My favorite project was my thesis. It was so interesting to explore Nuyorican (New York-Puerto Rican) poetry. I got to sit down and interview Noel Quiñones, who is a big name in the Nuyorican poetry space. In his poem “8 Confessions of my Tongue,” he discusses his identity struggles and explains how out of place he feels in the Latinx community because he doesn’t know Spanish. I spoke with him out his identity struggle and how he feels stuck between two islands: Manhattan and Puerto Rico. It was an incredible experience and I learned a lot about myself and my family’s experience as well. 

Making friends

I think the other students and I liked the major because it was very intimate and the professors were incredible. We had so many amazing classes to choose from and because they were so small, we had the opportunity to share our ideas with one another and really engage in a language, that for many of us, was not our first.

Career paths

Hispanic Culture and Literature provides students with a strong set of critical thinking and communication skills that can be applied to a variety of occupations. Communications, marketing, translation, and international relations are just a few options for career paths. Knowing a second language will help in almost any job field and can help lead to more opportunities in international locations. 

Similar majors

One closely related major is comparative literature. It’s pretty much the same thing except it involves studying literature in three different languages. There’s also Latin American Studies, where you study about Latin America but can take most of your classes in English. Ethnic Studies and American Studies are two majors that are also relevant, as they deal largely with social issues, cultural representation and history. 

Tips for future Spanish majors

Don’t feel intimidated. There might be students who grew up speaking Spanish in a lot of your classes, but if it’s not your first language, don’t feel like you can’t do it. It’s a learning process and it really helps you to build up your confidence and refine your communication skills. Studying abroad can be a great way to do this too. You’ll gain hands-on experience within the Spanish-speaking world and allow you to fully immerse yourself in a new culture.  

Anthropology: A Crash Course in Culture Studies

Jeremy Caldwell ‘19, Tufts University

I graduated in May with a degree in anthropology. A lot of people don’t know what that means, and to be fair, I really didn’t know either, even after I declared my major. Anthropology is basically culture studies. You can learn about religions, rituals, artifacts, languages, and the day-to-day life of people around the world by studying how they learn, how they act, and how they interact with each other. Especially as the world becomes more connected, it’s really helpful to know about different ways of life, thinking, and belief that surround us. 

Choosing anthropology

I’ve always loved studying different cultures. One day during my freshman year my RA overheard me talking about religious rituals from ancient Greece, and she said that I would be a great anthropology major. She brought me to a department lunch the following week and introduced me to some of her friends. I fell in love with the program immediately.

High school connections

One of my favorite classes in high school was AP Human Geography. I didn’t know that it was connected to anthropology, but I really enjoyed learning about the connections between cultures, nations, religions, languages, and people. Now I know that it lead me to my major!

Favorite class

My favorite class was called Indigenous People and Environmental Change. We learned how climate change is affecting indigenous peoples around the world, despite those cultures’ strong connections to the environment over tens of thousands of years. My professor previously worked with the UN and the Smithsonian, and she taught us a lot about unjust power structures and how indigenous knowledge could help end the global warming crisis.

Favorite project

My favorite project was a 20-page research paper I wrote on the history of tattoos in America, especially among teenagers. I interviewed 30 of my friends with tattoos and learned about the significance behind each of their tattoos. Afterwards, I proposed my own theory about how millennials use tattoos to express their identity. I had to work really hard, but I was so proud when I finished.

Career paths

I’ll be honest, when I first declared my major my parents were a bit concerned. In the past, anthropologists tended to only do ethnographic research and write dissertations about their research. Luckily, the field is rapidly expanding right now. When you think of anthropology as culture studies, it can be applied to so many different fields. I know other students that have gone to work in human resources, communications, museum studies, market research, education, film, and even medicine. Think of anthropology like a set of tools you can bring to many fields, rather than a narrow career path. 

Similar majors

Anthropology is pretty closely connected to sociology, psychology, and religious studies. I also see some connections to international relations, political science, and archaeology. I paired my anthropology major with film and media studies, so I learned a lot about how representation in the media matters. 

Tips for future majors

I think anthropology is more fun when there are fewer rules. Look for schools with smaller class sizes so you can really engage with your peers and professors. And the more anthropology courses they offer, the better! It’s such a broad major, so there’s plenty of things to learn and try.

Dive into Marine Biology

Ashley Fortune ‘23, College of the Holy Cross

Although the summertime is recognized as a time for travel and enjoyment, it can also be a time when you embark on a learning journey. One of my most memorable summer experiences was not at a beach, but in a lab, researching marine life!

I spent last summer participating in a six-week paid internship at Boston University. The all-female STEM program was called GROW (Greater Boston Area Research Opportunities For Young Women). There may be similar enrichment programs near you, so go out and search!

Anyway, my lab, under my mentors James Huth and Chris Thomas, and Professor Cynthia Bradham, focused on studying the embryonic development of sea urchins. I know, it sounds like a lot, but trust me, it was amazing!  Not only did I get to work in a lab with real instruments and actual sea urchins, but I also got to meet such amazing people along the way. We got to visit the BU Medical School and hear from professors and admission reps about the college experience. 

Most importantly, the group of girls throughout this whole program remain my dear friends. We got to laugh, stress, and learn from each other as we all took part in different fields of STEM. The weeks of working in a lab and doing amazing experiments was surely a high school highlight! 

So don’t succumb to the idea that the summer is all about enjoying the beach or the pool. Search for and take advantage of all the academic opportunities you’re interested in! You will meet wonderful people, experience amazing things, expand your mind and find a new sense of self. 

The Major Decision: What Should You Study

Wiener Douyon, CollegeFindMe Intern

What’s a major?

The question that any senior could ponder for hours is a simple one: “What do you want to major in?” Your major, or academic concentration, is a set of courses around a subject that you’ll eventually get a degree in. However, this will in no way cement your future. Besides, who knows what they will focus on for the rest of their lives? Just like how you are always changing and growing, so are your interests and passions.

So, instead of agonizing over a decision that may change in a couple of weeks, focus on what you are passionate about now. This guide will help you figure out how to choose your major. Let’s begin!

Redefining majors

In many ways, choosing a major is almost as hard as finding the best-fit college. That’s because deciding on a major is linked with finding your purpose. It’s very rare that someone figures out their purpose by senior year of high school.  So let’s redefine what a major is. Instead of treating it like our destinies, let’s say that it is your field of interest. Some interests may include Astrophysics, Art History, Electrical Engineering, or Dance!  

Choosing a major

By believing that majors are basically areas of interest, all you have to do is to find what you like to do. Here are some questions to help you find out what you’re looking for in a major:

  • Atmosphere
    • Do you enjoy working in a team? Are you the most efficient and determined working alone? It helps to understand how you function and which type of environment you would thrive in. Choose a major that suits your working style. A business major needs to be prepared to work in groups, while a computer scientist might have more alone time.
  • Office Type
    • Do you want to work at a desk? Outside? In a studio? At home? Different majors tend to lead to different types of workplaces, so ask yourself where you picture your future job taking place. If that seems too far in the future, think about where you like to study!
  • Job Availability
    • You want to make sure that your major will help you get jobs that are available. For example, the tech industry is booming right now, while railroad engineering is a bit less in demand. While your first priority should be pursuing your passions, it helps to consider the job market now and in the future.
  • Salary
    • You may feel pressured to pursue a major that promises a high salary. Remember, your happiness is important too. A big paycheck isn’t the same thing as finding fulfillment. Always follow your heart, even if the money isn’t there at first.
  • Courses
    • Finally, take a look at the courses required and offered by any given major. You may think you want to be a film major, but it turns out you don’t like any of the film courses taught at your school. Look for a major that gets you excited, not just one that seems like it’ll be a good investment for the future. 

Final note

What you major in does not determine your future. Finding a job is about pursuing your passions and offering valuable skills, not just checking boxes. Even once you’ve decided on a major, keep trying new things! Whether through electives, clubs, internships, or independent research, you can absolutely chase multiple passions at once. This will help you become a more well-rounded individual with a unique set of skills to offer any employer. At the end of the day, your enthusiasm and passion are much more valuable than a transcript, so look for a major that feels right to you!

If you’d like to hear from some current college students why they chose their major, check out this video!