What’s the best major for me? Should I apply to graduate school? These questions are at the top of NYU Shanghai students’ minds as they navigate their first two years of college.
On Saturday February 20th, the first ever I Am Limitless Student Conference at NYU Shanghai offered a series of workshops and panels on academic and career-related topics. Organized by the Career Development Center (CDC) and Academic Advising, the conference invited keynote speakers, young professionals and NYU Alumni to provide inspiration and advice for almost 200 student attendees to tackle their college challenges and questions.
The kick-off speaker Pam Vachatimanont, Director of Education at Sesame Workshop, shared her personal insights about navigating a career path in international non-profits such as UNESCO and UNICEF to support education in developing countries. She discussed her personal and critical life decisions of choosing an undergraduate major in Art History, taking a gap year to teach in London, and attending graduate school at Harvard. Her story inspired the enthusiasm of students to make the most of the conference and think about the opportunities of their futures.
In the “What’s Your Global Story?” workshop, NYU Assistant Vice President of Student Diversity Monroe France, NYU Director of the Wasserman Career Development Center Leah Lattimore, and NYU Shanghai Associate Dean of Students David Pe presented students with approaches of building their global stories as they develop their experience at NYU Shanghai and through study away.
Maya Williams, NYU Shanghai Class of 2018: "Explaining what I've learned by just being at NYU Shanghai, in China, and around people from all over the world is always hard to sum up in words. I really appreciated the 'Telling Your Global Story' talk, because it introduced me to how other people tell their story and gave me some ideas for my own."
Another concurrent workshop, aimed for students currently deciding their major titled “Major Blast,” also gave insightful advice by challenging the myths of majors. Those concerned with pressure from having to declare an academic track received suggestions from upperclassmen peer advisors, Global Academic Fellows (GAFs), and academic advisors on how to make a decision over the complicated question of “interest” vs. “high salary” major track.
Hanna S Rinderknecht-Mahaffy, NYU Shanghai Class of 2019: "The lectures and talks at the I Am Limitless Conference instilled in me the importance of self-evaluation and planning in deciding my goals for the future, including my possible paths for internships, graduate school, and my future career. As someone who is still unsure about my major, I am finding the resources and planning tools provided by the conference to be very helpful in figuring out how to connect my major to my specific future career goals.”
In the afternoon, students joined over 20 Shanghai professionals, including many NYU Pan-Asia alumni for a lunch meet-and-greet. These guests were very excited to visit our campus and learn about the unique NYU Shanghai student experience. Students were able to talk one-on-one and in small groups with global professionals in a variety of fields. They also made potential connections for volunteering, internship and career exploration opportunities in the future.
Melody Xu, NYU Gallatin Class of 2018 (study away): “The "I Am Limitless" conference gave me a chance to speak with professionals that offered an incredible insight on both my career and my concentration.”
After lunch, all students listened to a graduate school panel which showcased representatives from Business, Design, Economics, Law and Science. The Q&A portion allowed students to ask questions about why and when to attend grad school and how a degree might impact one’s career.