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Combining majors across colleges and co-op exploration

I should start this by prefacing that I am not just a Political Science student in CSSH; I am enrolled in a combined major with Communication studies, a department that is in the College of Arts, Media, and Design. I chose this path when I came to Northeastern because I knew that I was interested in government/politics and that I also enjoyed working with people, but didn’t actually know what I wanted to do. Both majors were sufficiently broad so that I had room to explore, but together, provided a direction for my studies. As a senior, I’m still interested in these same areas and I still have no idea what I want do with my life. This can easily be demonstrated through the dichotomy of my co-op experiences.

I did my first co-op in the spring of 2015 at the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. I always had an interest in law and wanted to see if it might be the right path for me. Though I had an incredible experience there, I’m not so sure that law school is in the right fit for me.

When searching for my second co-op, I was looking for something a little outside the box from my typical interests. I’d been told by a number of people I would do well in Human Resources and they thought I would enjoy it. So I applied around and accepted an offer with the company I am currently working for: Liberty Mutual Insurance. At Liberty, I am working as an HR representative on a strategic projects team.

I decided to apply for HR because I had an interest in the employee relations function of the role. I really liked the idea of being able to support people with issues they might be having as well as helping develop talent. Unfortunately, because of my placement in the company, a fair amount of my work is outside of this area of interest. I have, however, gotten to explore a different aspect of the field that I had never realized existed. I have gotten to work on projects that range from creating the Monthly Operating Reports for different lines of business in the company to facilitating a study to assess the validity of an important hiring process for the company.

While I have very much enjoyed my time at Liberty Mutual, I don’t think that HR is an occupation that I will pursue in the future. It has, however, helped reaffirm my passion for what I study. It has reinvigorated my desire to work in either the public sector or a non-profit/NGO.

One of the things that is special about co-op is that even if you decide that what you’re doing isn’t the right fit, it can still be a great learning experience. You may not have found your calling, but at least you know what you don’t want to do. And for people like myself, who have no idea what they want, this is half the battle.

This blog post was written by Julie Jochem, a Political Science/Communication Studies combined major with a minor in International Affairs. You can contact her at jochem.j@husky.neu.edu.

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