Alumni Voice

How Explore Shaped My Post-Grad Path

by Carolyn Melley

When I first arrived on Northeastern’s campus, I wasn’t too concerned about not yet having a major. The Explore team had put me at ease during Accepted Students Day and Freshman Orientation, so I was sure that I could take my time to explore all my options in pursuit of a major that I would truly love. My freshman year I lived in Stetson West, which was split between the Fusion LLC, which I was a part of, and engineering students. Meeting and hanging out with so many engineers, who seemed to have their entire college career, from their freshman seminar to their capstone, set in stone from the minute they set foot on campus, shook the confidence that had been instilled in me during the orientation process. Having no clear path while being surrounded by students that knew exactly what they would be doing for the next five years made me wonder if it really was possible to truly explore and still graduate on time. However, that’s where Connections and Decisions came in. With the help of my Professor, Lynn Dornick, and my dedicated team of Student Leaders, I emerged from a confident, empowered student, ready to chart my own course to graduation.

The skills I learned in Connections and Decisions carried me through my entire college career and beyond. From helping countless friends navigate the degree audit to making sure that I was on track to graduate in the timeframe that made the most sense for me, learning how to advocate for myself and take control of my academic path was essential to my success at Northeastern. What I didn’t expect, however, is how much becoming intrinsically motivated, organized, and self-starting would pay off in my post-graduation life.

For my first role after graduating from Northeastern, I am part of a very small team working in digital marketing. Working as part of a small team requires that I take ownership of my projects to ensure that our projects continue to move forward, we meet our deadlines, and we create successful campaigns for our clients. Especially in the era of COVID-19 when we are working remote full time, it is essential that I am intrinsically motivated to succeed at my job without the encouragement of an in person team of coworkers. Thanks to the skills that I learned from my time in the Explore Program, I have been able to succeed in my role in a way that I don’t think I would have had I not needed to learn to advocate for myself and take control of my academic path.

Looking back on my college career, being a part of the Explore Program was the best way to start my time at Northeastern. From being in Connections and Decisions to becoming a Peer Mentor to putting the skills that I had learned to use in college and beyond, I am so glad that I took the time to feel confident in what I wanted before declaring a major. And that’s not even to mention all of the amazing friends I made through the program along the way. No matter where my career takes me next, I know that I can always rely on the skills I learned during my time in the Explore Program to guide me towards success.