I throw myself into any leadership or team-oriented position that is remotely available to me. Any email about open positions, opportunities, clubs or research, I am there. The difficulty I face is balancing my ambitious heart with the reality of my limited capacity.
The challenge of balancing different and competing interests with planning a realistic career path is one that many Georgetown University students grapple with. As I seek to find the middle line between embracing diverse interests and focusing on professional growth, I have reflected on what all of my endeavors have in common.
Sometimes I wake up and start my day in a pantsuit for corporate events and go to bed in a hoodie that champions the philanthropic work of Georgetown’s South Asian Society. This may seem overwhelming, but I revel in the plethora of options — in keeping all the doors open. This is something I honestly recommend to everyone who will listen. By saying yes to every opportunity and constantly trying new things, I have learned so much about myself and come to the important conclusion that I want a career that focuses on people. I want a client-facing or team-oriented job. I want ideas and chatter filling whatever office I end up working in, anywhere in the world.
In the last four years I have developed and found so many interests yet, when I close my eyes and really think about it, none clearly pave a way to a concrete career. I want to be a wartime journalist. I want to be a food critic. I want to be a human rights lawyer. I want to be a drummer. I want to work at a museum. I want to be a ski instructor. I want to be a consultant. I want to work in India. I want to be the ambassador of the United States to India. I want to work here. I want to have a stable lifestyle. I want to travel the world. You see the predicament.
I started off as an international politics major, moved to international political economy, considered culture and politics and am now a global business major. My minor trajectory was just as sinusoidal. I started off with a journalism minor, moved to theology and religious studies and am now pursuing a diplomatic studies certificate.
Now, I am a global business major, which allows me to pursue all of my passions, no matter how divergent they are from one another. This entails as many marketing presentations and recruiting events as it does discussions of world issues and high-profile events, such as the SFS Diplomatic Ball, an annual gala bringing together students, faculty and members of the diplomatic community.
I want to step out of my office and hear more chattering chaos and bustling traffic. Outside the work environment, I want to ensure that I always have friends and family around.
My roommate at Georgetown told me it is my most lovable and unique trait, yet potentially my most fundamental flaw: always wanting to be around people. For a long time I undervalued my social capacity, deeming it problematic and unsustainable, but now I channel it into my endeavors. I wake up talking and fall asleep texting. I am perpetually in the mood to talk and listen.
This trait has guided my Georgetown journey as I take on the most client and people-facing roles, as Philanthropy Chair of the South Asian Society, tour guide in Blue & Gray, peer advisor through the SFS Dean’s Office, and a WayFinder at the Cawley Career Center.
I have discovered that these endeavors have transferable skills that are leading me into the future — a social career. My openness to social interaction is a trait that made me successful, arguably something I touched on in all of my essays applying to Georgetown, and how I have found success here. I will hold fast to the fulfilling feeling of a camaraderie-oriented workspace as I seek career opportunities.
So, if you’re stuck in a “what should I do with my life?” situation like me, find your hook, the common thread in your activities — it doesn’t have to be backed up by stellar grades or academic validation — and incorporate it into your experiences.
Sanaa Mehta is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. Identity Introspection is published every third Friday.