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2018 Environmental Studies (PitE) and Spanish alum, Ameya Gehi, always had dreams of attending law school. As an official “Double-Wolverine” graduating from both LSA and Michigan Law, Ameya offers a candid and confident reflection on her liberal arts experience and demonstrates how it greatly contributed to her career success.
We know many undergrad students are still exploring their career interests and aspirations, and with that, Ameya says don’t fret – “your major does not equal your career.” The key to a flourishing liberal arts experience is the self-guided journey which, in turn, equips students with transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers. Read on to learn about Ameya’s story and her five tips on how to make the most of your time at LSA.
1. Set SMART Goals
If Ameya could give any advice to students navigating their final years of undergrad, it would be to “plan for the near future by creating short-term, time-driven goals.” If you’re looking to launch your career, Ameya explains that you’re more likely to follow through on actionable goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. For example, “I will apply to 5 PR internships by Friday” is much more effective than “I’m going to apply for internships,” as the first goal evokes personal accountability.
For guidance on how to develop short-term goals, visit the Hub’s Canvas page and find our S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet in the “Discover Your Career Options” module after joining the Hub's Canvas page.
2. Tap into U-M’s Network of Resources
As a U-M student, you have access to a multitude of free resources and tools, which Ameya suggests making use of. During her former years, she frequented the Sweetland Writing Center for feedback on research papers and writing assignments.
“Although writing styles vary across disciplines, Sweetland taught me a lot of transferable writing skills,” Ameya explains. She also visited the Newnan Academic Advising Center for career counseling and industry insights.
Additionally, attending guest speaker events was instrumental to Ameya’s undergraduate experience. She recalls attending a lecture with an attorney from EarthJustice, a prominent nonprofit dedicated to litigating environmental issues, and feeling inspired and driven to pursue law school after graduation.
As an LSA student, you have access to even more specialized resources related to the liberal arts and sciences experience. The Opportunity Hub regularly hosts career exploration workshops and compelling professional development events with LSA alums and industry leaders. You can find them on LSA Engage.
3. Prioritize Balance, Wellness & Rest
Although academic success is important, prioritizing rest and your overall well-being is critical to achieving that success.
“Work-life balance is a must,” Ameya affirms. Finding ways to navigate academic work-life balance can be challenging, but beneficial in the long run when you’ve entered the workforce. This includes committing to studying strategies that increase efficiency and productivity (long hours do not equal productive hours), getting adequate sleep, and prioritizing your physical and mental health.
4. Get Involved In Extracurriculars
Outside of her double major and academic organizations like the Michigan Research Community, Ameya made time for extracurriculars that suited her personal interests. She joined the U-M Field Hockey Club, Yoga Club and Belly Dancing Club.
For Ameya, participation in these groups offered “physical activity, which is a stress reliever, and a way to make friends.”
Getting involved in non-academic groups gives you much-needed distance from your studies, weakens the griphold of academic pressure at times, and encourages students to prioritize activities that foster socialization and personal fulfillment.
Check out Maize Pages to discover opportunities to join campus clubs and get involved in really cool initiatives and organizations.
5. Develop Mentor Relationships
Since stepping foot on campus, Ameya was intentional about connecting with her professors and forming professional mentoring relationships. Along the way, she used these relationships to gather additional industry knowledge and proactively collect letters of recommendation, which were essential when applying to law school.
Ameya started attending office hours to build deeper connections with professors whose work intrigued her, which transitioned into more personalized relationships, where they got to know her very well.
“Relationships like this often lead to detailed letters of recommendation, which can make your applications stand out,” Ameya shares.
Along with professors, LSA alums can also serve as great mentors. You can reach out to and chat with alums, including Ameya, via our exclusive mentoring and networking platform, LSA Connect.
As you reflect on Ameya’s experience and her tips on gaining and sustaining momentum in your final years at LSA, don’t forget that college is also meant to be enjoyable, rewarding, and fun. So, study what you want, meet new people, and try new things.
Ameya adds one last piece of advice:
“Your next steps, whether that’s your career or grad school, can be very demanding, so be present for everything you do and enjoy your final years of undergrad.”