Developing Professional Skills as a First-Year Student (Part 2)

When I originally planned to write Part 2 of this series (you can find Part 1 here), I wanted to discuss more Career Development Office programs: the Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP) and the Summer Experience Funding Program.

However, since I’m still in the application process for some of these programs, I thought it’d be more fitting to share how the experiences and skills I have gained through applying to Pomona-sponsored programs have benefitted me in other ways.

The Pomona chapter of the Quest Scholars Network! QuestBridge is a national organization that services low income and first generation students.
The Pomona chapter of the Quest Scholars Network! QuestBridge is a national organization that services low income and first generation students.

Although the Summer Experience Funding Program provides you with the funding you need to live in a foreign environment, it’s up to you to find the actual internship or summer opportunity. I wish I could say finding programs to apply to was as easy as a quick Google search, but I had to do some work to pinpoint organizations that matched my interests and programs that catered to my financial needs. By this I mean that I opened 30+ tabs, persistently clicking back and forth as I copied and pasted important links, deadlines, and program details.

I also got some help in the search process from QuestBridge, which hosted a student panel called “Finding Summer Experiences as a Low Income Student.” One of the great things about being a part of the QuestBridge community at Pomona is the way Quest Scholars support each other, sharing insights on past experiences to address concerns about costs and logistics.

After I compiled a list of summer opportunities, I began the application process. During this process, the resume and short essay responses that I crafted and refined for the PCIP and Summer Experience Funding applications came in handy. It was a great relief to know that since I had set aside time to schedule appointments with CDO staff, a lot of thought and care was being put into my internship applications.

Later in the application process, I was contacted for an interview. Fortunately, since I had recorded video responses to common interview questions for the PCIP application, I was (again) more than prepared.

At this point, I am trying to choose between internship offers from wonderful organizations. I honestly would not have made it this far in the process if it weren’t for the CDO, the QuestBridge community, and several other super helpful individuals who I’ve had the privilege to develop relationships with, thanks to Pomona.

To conclude this series, I want to emphasize how crucial different communities and resource centers at Pomona have been to my experience as a first-year student. (In fact, this is probably why so many people agree that Pomona is one of those places you just have to experience in person—paper brochures and online articles just don’t do this place justice!) I hope that the small tidbits of my experiences will encourage you to discover the many reasons why Pomona is a truly special place!