My name is Matt Arciniega. I attended the Yale Ivy Scholars Program in '09 and am now studying at Columbia University. In the past, I've stressed the importance of getting off campus and finding internship opportunities that help you understand the working world and take a break from your studies. I'm now here to reaffirm that advice--in fact, I've appreciated off campus internships so much I've decided to take a semester off and work for a few different non-profit groups.
Many people will tell you, "you just have to go abroad," or graduate in four years, but there is definitely something to be said for halting your studies and taking a path less-traveled. This is one of the only times in your life you do not need to have a steady job with benefits and the ability to pay the bills--get out there and do something! It will be amazingly helpful for learning about and understanding different career paths. I very much enjoyed all the hard work I was putting into school and I know my degree will help me get where I want to go in life, but I don't know where I want to go in life! Like choosing colleges, you can't truly understand anything about an industry or career unless you spend some time living it. That is the premise of the Ivy League Connection, and I think it is just as applicable when it comes to the job search.
Other quick updates, I am halfway through my junior year as a political science major (which I recommend for anyone interested in advocacy work) and I am hoping to work in education policy and eventually go to grad school. If any of you are interested in Columbia, political science, education or taking a semester off, please don't hesitate to contact me.
All the best,