Exploration is the bedrock of a liberal arts education. That’s what Smith students are taught from day one. Of course, some students enter knowing exactly what they want to major in and what they want to be. But others, less sure, take advantage of the educational buffet that Smith offers. Sidni Standard ’17 is one such student. She isn’t afraid to change her major—she transferred to Smith in premed, then switched to a philosophy/economics double major and now is an econ major, philosophy minor. She’s tried different internships and worked her contacts. She may not know what she wants to be when she grows up, but she’s enjoying the ride. Here, she traces her journey.
Between my sophomore and junior year, I became interested in entrepreneurship and startups. I reached out to Stacie Hagenbaugh at the Lazarus Center for Career Development. She helped me connect with [Mediabistro founder] Laurel Touby ’85. I am so thankful to have met Laurel! She connected me with Daphne Cheng, an entrepreneur and vegan chef who was starting a company, Society C. From Daphne, I became familiar with Slack and Google Drive as well as how to effectively research a market you want to enter. From this experience, I began to think about my own startup ideas.
I met another mentor, Dawn Quaker, at an event in New York City. Dawn co-founded Dreamers // Doers, a membership community for trailblazing women, and invited me to join the Facebook group. That’s where I found Georgie-Ann Getton. Her company, Illicit Mind, develops educational programs that support diverse innovators. As her interterm intern, I assisted with marketing efforts and strategy to advertise her company. From this internship, I realized my interest in marketing strategy and started to become interested in web design.
After two internships with startups, I wanted to try something new. I was lucky enough to get a summer internship within the marketing technology department at New York Life Insurance Company. I focused on web analytics, working with Adobe Omniture to analyze web traffic. In addition, I was part of a website redesign, and I was able to teach myself some coding in CSS and HTML. At this internship, I developed an immense interest in web design and web analytics.
I would love to say that I have finally found exactly what I’m looking for. However, I am very much still on my journey. As a 21-year-old, I am still figuring out who I am, as well as what brings me joy. I know so far that I really enjoy activism, music, traveling and the internet, but I’m unclear as to what exactly my major interests will manifest themselves into. At this moment, I’m excited for the future and focused on living my life in the here and now.
I am so grateful to my mentors. They are truly the most influential people in my life—amazing people who have helped guide me in directions I did not know I would go. I found my mentors by chance, a result of trusting myself and going for it.
SAQ, Winter 2016–17