By Lisa Puran, Peer for Career
When I arrived at the Newman Vertical Campus on the first day, I breathed a sigh of relief. “Finally! a school where my mom will not be a part of the PTA,” I thought as I trudged up the steps. Although lightly humored, it instantly dawned on me that entering college would mean independence and personal growth. I would be my own boss in one of the biggest business schools in NYC, no pun intended.
I entered the building ready to tackle the day. My schedule was looking great with the breaks between classes. I began to enjoy college for the supposed ease, by simply showing up to my classes and hanging out with friends during breaks. College life was awesome, until I received a low mark on my first exam. It then hit me that free time in college was not a luxury, but a necessity. I spent the second half of my first semester doing outlines and self-studying. Slowly, but surely I saw my grades increase despite exhausting nights studying. If college taught me one thing, it was self-discipline.
Freshman year was a breath of fresh air because it taught me the importance of management. I had to master time management by learning how to juggle my classes, study sessions, and part-time job. My planner became my best friend in mapping out my days, weeks, even months. I even learned the hard way to become financially stable when I blew one of my paychecks on food and other random items I most likely did not need. This level of personal management has allowed me to blossom from a kid reliant on mommy and daddy to an adult who can take charge of her life. However, overcoming the independence hurdle is only half the equation. I soon found myself facing a new personal challenge.
There was something about Baruch that was… different. It was the culture – more specifically the business culture. I was initially amazed at the austere grandeur of the business school upperclassmen dressed in slick black suits. Some would be sitting reading the Wall Street Journal while others flocked to corporate events or even STARR for interviews. I looked down at my flower dress and wondered how an intended Finance major like myself could fit in when I was so obviously disadvantaged. I decided to get more involved on campus by joining T.E.A.M. Baruch and applying to the Rising STARR Sophomore Program (RSSP). I wanted to build upon my leadership and professional skills so I could make myself a target candidate for internships in the future. Through these programs, I was able to witness a change in myself – I was much more outspoken and confident. I was so incredibly thankful for the opportunities here at Baruch that I became a proponent of mentoring.
Since freshman year, I have become more involved on campus, despite the stereotype against commuter schools. I held a Freshman Seminar role where I helped lead a class of 20 incoming freshman, assisting with their college transition. I also joined the Peers for Careers program, where I am able to aid my fellow Baruch students in their individual career development by revising professional documents as well as leading workshops. I was selected to participate in RSSP and also in the Financial Women’s Association chapter of Baruch College. I applied and received mentors from Baruch’s Executives on Campus. These experiences allowed me to develop as a young professional while being able to give back to the Baruch community. As an added bonus, I was able to do extensive networking and met a lot of great people, some of whom are actually now my best friends. And it is these experiences that have made me ready for perhaps my most difficult feat yet – Junior Year Recruiting.
I am happy to say that with all of the support and experiences I have had at Baruch, I was able to land a Summer Analyst position at BlackRock. As I write today, it is crazy to think I have already completed 2.5 years of college. But I am grateful for the memories and am holding on tight for the rest of the ride.