The Daily Illini

Q & A with LAS adviser Barbara Hall

By Yifan Gu, Staff Writer

The Daily Illini: What should students consider earlier in their college careers? 

Barbara Hall: It’s different student to student. You need to think about why you choose what you choose, (in) terms of a major, a minor, activities. Consider the expectations for the experience as a whole instead of choosing (it) because you can put it on a resume.

Think about what purpose it serves. For example, when you choose to study abroad, consider more about why you choose to go to that location. In terms of college: where this major takes you, why you choose these courses out of everything else you could do on campus. The important (thing) is what it means to you. You can talk about things on your resume intelligently instead of (the interviewer) thinking she just has all this stuff. The reasons behind your choices are only yours.
DI: Apart from the academic courses, what can students do to pursue their interests otherwise, and how?

BH: The first thing is to go to Quad Day and read LAS Insiders. Read The Daily Illini online to take advantage of what they are posting so you (can) know what’s going on. Then you can find the activities and clubs that match you. It shouldn’t be based on your major; it should be based on who you are. So Quad Day is so critical because it offers everything that campus has to offer. It offers the opportunity for you to choose what you can contribute and meet people with similar interests. 

DI: How can students take advantage of the University’s resources to find a career path?

BH: Take advantage of our internship program to see what internships and opportunities are relevant to our students. They have an idea about what, generally, our students do. Plus, LAS 101 and services provided in the Career Center are good resources. I encourage students to set up a Handshake account through the Career Center. 

DI: What should seniors do if they’re unsure of what to do next?

BH: I (would) start by putting together a resume and having someone look at it at the Career Center. There are workshops any time. Start what you don’t want to do first. There are probably several things they will name. Getting the experience of talking to people is crucial. Actually, as advisers, we are always pushing, asking questions like having you read our internship program and encouraging students to do an internship job between senior year, approaching students with internship programs on campus.

The Career Fair and Handshake are key tools to search (for jobs). Your first job in college is always a risk. The (internship) is a trial for students before the settling. It’s your advantage because you don’t commit to anything at this time. These three months are a good time for you to decide whether it’s a good fit or not. 

DI: Do you have anything to say to the seniors? 

BH: Never take yourself too seriously. What you think you want today may or may not be what you want for five years from now. It probably or definitely would not be the same thing 10 years from now. I hate to say life is short but in some cases, it’s very short. You look how quickly four years passed by. Another four years will pass before you know (it).

You will get a job. You will go to graduate school. You will find a niche. You may not find (it) today, tomorrow or next week but you will find it. You will never feel sorry to have a degree from the University of Illinois. The degree is something you can always wear with pride. On a resume, it will always be a standout for you. It is also something no one else could ever take away from you. When you are trying to compete with the people sitting around you, you have to do what fits you.

Yifan is a sophomore in LAS.

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