Crafting Your Stern Legacy

Written by Aaron Choi

It seems like just yesterday that I was an incoming freshman partaking in the numerous orientation activities during the summer of 2016 and preparing my move-in to Lipton Hall. NYU Stern was the next chapter of my academic career and a chance to start fresh – rightfully so after a year-long bout of high school senioritis. As a graduating senior this fall, it’s important to reflect upon my Stern experience and provide unsolicited advice to those fortunate enough to learn from my mistakes. 

Mentorship may not seem like a big deal as a freshman or sophomore. As busy as it can get, it’s important to understand the bigger picture of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Seeking mentorship and connecting with upperclassmen can not only help answer questions on topics like careers, academics, and extracurriculars but also help figure out how to best navigate your deceivingly short 4 years at NYU Stern. Who else can serve as a better resource than someone who was in your exact shoes not too long ago and faced the same questions you had? As easy as it is to remain focused on your personal goals and achievement and ask “what’s in it for me” with respect to taking on a mentee, I believe the more pertinent question is to ask “why not”. Here’s how I recommend upperclassmen “pay it forward” and ultimately leave Stern as a better community than it was when we first entered orientation week:

Become a Teaching Fellow:

There are few things that are more daunting than studying for a test you know nothing about. Being a teaching fellow can be an avenue in which to interact with underclassmen in a class that you excelled in and help students navigate through midterms and final exams. It’s extremely rewarding to help students understand challenging academic material and help them achieve their personal goals. 

Launch a mentorship program or participate in one:

While many clubs have exclusive portfolio teams and mentorship programs, I believe that mentorship should not be exclusive to those who know certainly know what they want as a career. It’s flawed to even expect first-year students or sophomores to know what major they should study. Launching a mentorship program or participating in one can provide you the opportunity to help students figure out what they should study and what the next steps are to get there. 

Become a peer mentor:

As explicit as a mentorship opportunity can get, becoming a peer mentor through official channels (Office of Student Engagement) can help connect you with students seeking your advice on a particular industry or major.

Participate in corporate presentations:

If you previously worked at a firm that hosts corporate presentations at the Wasserman Center or at Kimmel, participating in these corporate presentations provides interested students with a perspective from the inside. 

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