Kimberly Casey, a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience, has worked hard to find the path that she wants to be on. She started out in freshman year taking general university-wide exploratory classes, gen-eds, and thinking about majoring in English or women’s studies; but she felt deeply undecided about her career interests and her major. She knew she wouldn’t pull a solution out of thin air.
“I was very much undecided throughout my entire freshman year,” she recalled. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do until I started to branch out into the professional fields.”
The summer after freshman year, she met with a lawyer and saw first-hand what his day-to-day life looked like. Then she went into a hospital to get a feel for that environment. Something there clicked for her. This first experience in the medical field steered her towards the pre-health track. After meeting with the pre-health advisors, Kimberly decided to major in integrative neuroscience.
It’s both relieving and exciting to have a more tangible goal to work towards; but Kimberly wanted to get more experiences under her belt. Out of curiosity, Kimberly stepped into the Fleishman Center to learn about the career resources the center offered. In the beginning of sophomore year, she made an appointment to find opportunities more tailored to her goals, and to clean up her applications.
In her first meeting, Kimberly met with a student staff consultant to construct her resume, edit verbiage, build up different sections, and save space so she could incorporate more of her qualifications. They also gave Kimberly some peace of mind about applying to medical schools in the coming year.
For her application to be a UHS medical receptionist, Kimberly made another appointment to work on her cover letter. They talked about how to alter the voice of her cover letter to fit the job she wanted, and in this case, to make it more straight-cut and less distinct.
“He taught me how to flip how I sound in letters depending on what type of role I'm going for,” she recalled. “If I'm going for a more leadership role, then that's a time to input my personality, but if I'm going for a more clerical job like this receptionist position, I should just state things about myself.”
Her cover letter and resume carried her all the way through to the end of the interview process. Knowing that she wanted to be in the medical field, and armed with the ability to market herself well to potential employers, Kimberly charged forward.
So far, she has volunteered at Compassionate Care, a home care services agency, landed an internship position at All Saints Catholic School in Endicott, and is starting a job with ScribeAmerica working as a patient intake scribe for a doctor in the midwest. With the help of the Fleishman Center, Kimberly was able to identify these opportunities and take a step forward with confidence in her applications.
Kimberly did a lot of work on her own exploring fields and applying to positions; but with a great deal of drive can come a lot of stress and pressure. It’s helpful to have someone to remind you to go easy on yourself.
“Some of the most impactful advice I’ve gotten from the Fleishman Center is to calm down,” Kimberly said. “In my appointments, they told me that I was doing as much as I could and that I shouldn't overbook my schedule to the point where I was pulling my hair out. I’m a full time student doing two part-time jobs, and I'm also trying to maintain a social life and my mental health. That is a lot.”
Everyone can use encouragement, no matter what stage of your education and career path you’re on. Many students put a lot of pressure on themselves to already know what they want to do with their lives; but exploring and trying different things is beneficial to learning about who you want to be and what future job you want to pursue. Whether you’re struggling to pick a major or figuring out how to approach an upcoming interview, if you’re moving in any direction, you’re probably doing something right.
“Sometimes we all need reassurance from someone who knows what they’re doing, who can look at us and say, ‘You’re good’”, Kimberly admitted. “Rationally, I knew I was good. But hearing that from the Fleishman Center made me confident to continue what I was doing.”
Coming in for guidance has helped Kimberly on her journey as she finds new medical-related jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities to get onto the path that she wants to be on. She has also been able to build her network with the alumni mentorship program, Mentor Match.
Currently, Kimberly is figuring out whether she wants to go into physical healthcare or mental healthcare — which goes to show that you don’t need to know exactly what you want in order to start exploring opportunities. Her psychotherapy class with Dr. Steven Lynn is helping her explore that.
“Being around professionals in Binghamton who have work experience in fields that I would potentially want to go into, like Dr. Lynn, has made me feel more ready to pursue some type of career in one of these fields,” she said.
Kimberly advocates for using the resources around you, like study groups and GroupMe chats to connect with classmates, BLine news, club meetings, listservs, and centers like Harpur Edge and the Fleishman Center. If you are looking to grow your skills and experiences but don’t know where to start, the Fleishman Center is the place to go.
To meet virtually or in-person with a Fleishman Center staff member, please make an appointment on Handshake, or come to walk-in hours weekdays from noon - 3:40 p.m.
by Erin Zipman