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Senior Year Professional Reflections

By: Eric Smuda
B.A. International Affairs and Political Science
MInor in German Language and Literature
December 2016 (Expected)

I was raised on the belief that anything worth having must be achieved through hard work and perseverance. Since beginning my collegiate career at the George Washington University in 2013, I have used this wisdom as motivation to propel my professional and academic life further and to achieve feats that I had once only been able to dream of.

I have had the pleasure of working for Squire Patton Boggs LLP, the United Nations, the Republican Governors Association, the American Enterprise Institute, Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, the Coalition for the National Museum of the American People, two competitive political campaigns, and several other unique employers. These experiences have inundated me with a wealth of knowledge and skills for the fields in which I am most passionate about pursuing a career. I have developed as a professional with each new challenge, new project, and new deadline with which I have been confronted through each of these experiences. These experiences have helped reaffirm my passions and have challenged me to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to get the job done.

Like most seniors, the anxiety that I felt regarding finding full-time employment after graduation was immense. However, the Center for Career Services was there to make this process easier every step of the way. My career coach, Julia Browne, helped bring clarity to this process and helped best prepare me for success and happiness. As a result of our meetings, I learned the ins and outs of the job application and job-selection process and gained confidence taking this next step in my life. Ms. Brown patiently and thoroughly answered my many questions and helped calm my many nerves regarding the process.

My job search culminated in an offer for the position of my dreams. All of the stress, all of the nerves, and all of the anxiety that this process brought upon me paid off when I signed my name on the dotted line to accept my offer letter. Professional development and the job search process are a team effort. Do not let the feelings of hopelessness that come with the hundreds of applications, countless interviews, and complicated negotiation processes overwhelm you and limit your potential.

The George Washington University and Washington D.C. offer a plethora of resources and opportunities that allow students to take the first steps towards pursuing a meaningful and successful career. However, these resources and opportunities will not simply come to those that allow their collegiate career to pass them idly by. As my undergraduate career nears its end, I can confidently say that these resources and opportunities have been invaluable to my development both as a professional and a person. I strongly urge you to not let these resources and opportunities pass you by and to maximize the utility of your time at this university and in this city by being bold, being proactive, and by never letting anything get in between you and your pursuit of your dreams.

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