Center for Business and Economics holds Gator Day panel

Hannah Schaffer, Contributing writer

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The Center for Business and Economics held its first ever Gator Day panel on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.

The panel was titled “Things I wish I Knew Four Years Ago” and included advice from Margo Birol, ’18, Rachel Ramsey, ’18, Samantha Bretz, ’18, and Troy Elpsinstone, ’19.

The four Center for Business and Economics fellows each shared tips they had learned throughout their  years at Allegheny.

Birol began her part of the panel by discussing what students should always keep with them.

“You should always have a resume on hand,” Birol said.

Ramsey suggested that students continuously listen and learn, and Bretz recommended that students learn how to research early in their academic careers.

“I had no idea how to read an academic paper,” Bretz said.

Bretz also recommended Allegheny students take advantage of their Freshman 101 and 102 Seminars and learn how to quickly skim a paper in order to decide if the resource is beneficial to their research.

The panel not only focused on how to be successful academically, but also socially.

“Be humble,” Elpsinstone said. “When I came here and got my first paper, I was a little cocky myself, and I got a C+.”

Elpsinstone also said all students at Allegheny have to have a certain level of academic success and intelligence to attend the college in the first place.

“There are people here just as smart as you and people smarter than you,” Elpsinstone said.

Birol expanded on Elpsinstone’s tips about how to succeed socially.

“Everyone upgrades,” Birol said.

She went on to explain how a lot of people first make friends according to proximity, and that by default, students tend to be friends with people they are lumped with whether that is through classes, sports teams or even dorms.

“It is okay to grow apart from people,” Birol said.

Birol also suggested not to end friendships on a bad note and advised students try their best not to burn bridges.

Birol also advised students not to compare new, growing relationships to those they had in high school. She explained students had known these old high school friends for years, and old friendships cannot be compared to new friendships.

When the conversation returned to Ramsey, she suggested students take classes outside of their comfort zone.

“Don’t be afraid to try other classes,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey recalled taking her first Environmental Science course.

“I absolutely loved it. I adored it,” Ramsey, who decided to declare a double major in both Economics and Environmental Studies after taking the course, said.

All four students stressed the importance of taking advantage of the resources offered throughout the campus.

“Whatever you want to do, the Gateway can help,” Bretz said before joking, “If Jim Fitch knows your name, you are good to go.”

Bretz also recommended students get ready for interviews by preparing answers for questions they think employers might ask and practicing them.

“[Employers] could ask you anything under the sun,” Bretz said.

Birol also mentioned the importance of office hours.

“The professors here, there is a reason they chose to teach at such a small school.  They want to share their expertise with you,” Birol said. “Professors are really cool people.  Fun fact.”

Ramsey then continued on to explain the benefits of being a student athlete, recalling that she has used the experience gained from playing on the softball team many times.

Being a student athlete shows that someone is dedicated and a team player, according to Ramsey.

Ramsey said, “[An athlete] is an important part of who you are.”

Bretz concluded the session by saying, “Make your face and name known.”

Hannah Schaffer
Center for Business and Economics fellows Samantha Bretz, ‘18, Rachel Ramsey, ‘18, and Margo Birol, ‘18, offer advice during a Gator Day panel on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 in Quigley Auditorium.

The advice most referenced throughout the session was the importance of getting involved.

The students also stressed the importance of attending school sponsored events, such as the lunchtime learning series hosted by the Center for Business and Economics.

After the event concluded, the four panelists gathered in the lobby to talk to underclassmen about internships they had completed. Students interested in getting an internship were encouraged to ask questions and talk with these students.

“I learned that we really need to be proactive about everything and start it now,” said Margo Beck, ’21. “Originally, I was thinking that I could wait until next year to start looking for internships and getting a resume together, but really it is now.”

Rowan Castellanos, ’19, attended the event and explained how amazed she was by opportunities from Allegheny.

“It’s eye opening how many opportunities Allegheny has,” Castellanos said.

Ethan Graubard, ’19, also attended the event, though his goal was to do more than learn from the panel.

“One of the most interesting things said was to attend events that aren’t required not only for learning, but also for networking,” Graubard said.

It was highly encouraged by the faculty that first and second year students attend “Things I Wish I Knew Four Years ago.” The schedule of events stated: “If you are a first or second year student, you need to attend this panel session.”

“It’s just helpful to have students point it out because when professors point it out it is like not as easy to connect with,” Rowan said.

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