Guest-Written by a Campus Philly ContributorHere’s what I knew about blockchain and cryptocurrency before my sophomore summer: absolutely nothing. Yet, ironically enough, my first internship was at a blockchain and crypto-focused PR firm. Incidentally, this job would eventually become a major turning point in my career plan, and steer me further into the business world. Things started with the post-freshman year scramble—when my friends threw off the remnants of summer and dove headfirst into recruiting. The funny thing is, I never thought I would be one of them. I’d always been a research kid, and had conducted multiple studies since high school. However, my freshman summer research program solidified that this just wasn’t the field for me, which is why I decided to pivot into the corporate world. During the fall of my sophomore year, I sent in resumes to a variety of companies. I immediately received a brutal, albeit necessary, lesson in rejection. The corporate world is already difficult enough to break into, and I was a student with two humanities majors and no relevant “business” extracurriculars. Simply put, I didn’t fit the pre-professional mold. In the end, though, I received offers from two companies. The first was a well-established political consulting firm, which was firmly within my comfort zone. I had spent an enormous amount of time immersed in research related to international relations. As such, accepting this opportunity seemed like the most seamless transition into business. My other option was a scrappy PR startup, which specialized in blockchain and cryptocurrency. While I had always been peripherally intrigued by tech, I’d never explored that interest before. Although accepting this job would certainly change that, I continued to hesitate. If I took this internship, I would be completely detaching myself from what I knew; I would throw myself into a field that I had zero background in. After an embarrassing amount of pros and cons charts, I ultimately decided to accept the offer from the latter. Although settling into office life was certainly a learning curve, I soon adjusted into the internship. I learned to draft press releases and strategize campaign launches; I helped manage content creation across our social media platforms. As it turns out, I didn’t love the company, nor did I particularly vibe with public relations. Yet I don’t regret this internship in the least. More specifically, I took away two invaluable lessons from my summer in PR. The first was that I enjoyed the business world. I liked the constant movement and the continuous, fast-paced excitement. On the other hand, I also deepened that initial interest in technology. As I parsed through every aspect of blockchain and dug further into crypto, I became fascinated by the business side of tech. As a result, I knew my future career path would need to fit within that niche. When I started recruiting the following year, I found that my time in PR had helped in another way. After spending three months sculpting brand perception, I was better equipped to package myself in a more “professional” light. This was immensely helpful when it came to interviews, and I ended up receiving an offer at a major financial services company. Fast forward a few years, and I’m still there today; my team, in particular, focuses on AP automation within the B2B space. While my day-to-day as an analyst is never the same, I’m currently working on a go-to-market launch plan for one of our digital products. Long story short—this has truly been a wild ride. Above all, though, I’m proud that I kept true to my other passions, despite shifting into the business world. I remained a humanities double major, and I pursued clubs and extracurricular activities that genuinely interested me. At the end of the day, I hope my story pushes you to take a chance. Whether you want to pursue a nontraditional career path or jump among multiple interests, I know how important it is to never compromise your passions. Although there will undoubtedly be stumbling blocks, learn from them. Normalize them! What matters is that each rejection takes you one step closer to where you want to be—and the only thing left to do is to keep moving forward.
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