If I had Only Listened to...

by Cristian Cano | 1/23/19 2:20am

by Sunny Tang / The Dartmouth


Breaking news: I am still looking for spring and summer internships! Yes, even after changing my D-Plan to move my off-term from the winter to the spring to buy myself more time, even after six weeks of break during which I just laid in bed playing the new Smash Bros, I am still filling out applications for my off-terms!

I finally declared my major this term, only a full year after I was supposed to, and though I think I’m supposed to feel closer to choosing my eventual career now, I can’t help but feel further than ever before. Maybe it’s my uncommon choice of major — Romance languages with a concentration in Italian and Spanish — or the fact that I’ve been taking classes nonstop since sophomore fall, but something’s just not adding up.

Now seems like as good a time as any to imagine: what if I had just listened to that advice from that person? Would I be any better off than I am now? Barring the sudden invention of a time machine, there’s no way to know for sure, but surely something can be gained through thoughtful reflection 

… Right?  

My Family

“What do you mean, you’re not pre-med anymore?” Yeah, about that … Turns out, when you decide to switch from a biology major to a Romance languages major, it’s usually a good idea to let your family know. To be fair, I was never really pre-med — I was just another bio major trying to keep his options open. 

Anyway, if I had listened to my family, I’d probably be on-track to become a doctor or a lawyer or something else that sounds “professional.” My dad never went to college, so sometimes I can’t help but believe that doctors and lawyers are the only careers he thinks people who go to schools like Dartmouth ever pursue. It’s nothing personal against him, I swear, but this is also the same guy who thought my studying abroad in Italy meant that I could now speak fluent Latin … Close, but no cigar. 

Oh well, I guess I always will have the graduate school route. As long as I’m “in school” in some capacity, the old man will remain content.

My Friends

Follow your dreams! Listen to your heart, not your bank account! Don’t sell your soul to big-money corporations!

I’m pretty sure if I listened to my friends, I would be unemployed by choice, not by circumstance. There’s nothing like a fiery conversation with some close pals to remind you of your passions, of the spark that got you into this school in the first place. On the other hand, there’s a big difference between a healthy amount of encouragement and too much optimism, and sometimes advice from friends tends to resemble the latter more closely.

Who needs a job when you can backpack across Europe writing children’s books and fundraising for Alzheimer’s research? Man, that sure sounds nice, but I’m afraid I came to Dartmouth (partly) to gain some more stability in life, not leave with even less than I had before. Some people make the “I-am-my-own-boss” thing work really well, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little jealous. But I’m not ready to take the road less traveled, at least not yet, so you can find me looking up job listings on FFB in the meantime. 

Emails from the Center for Professional Development

If someone could please explain to me what “consulting” is, it would be much appreciated. When I was applying to colleges back in the day, I somehow missed the info session where the phrase “liberal arts” was explained (turns out, it has nothing to do with politically left-leaning creative expression) — and it seems like I’ve once again missed the part where someone explains to me what consulting is and why most of our school is obsessed with it.

But hey, if I listened to all of the CPD emails that I receive, I’d probably be much closer to finding spring and summer internships. At the very least, I’d have had my resume reviewed on a regular basis, had dozens of Skype interviews (dressed formally only from the waist up) and attended more info sessions than I want to even imagine. I won’t pretend to understand the buzz surrounding the formal recruitment process, but I do know that a lot of my friends have pretty nice-sounding internships lined up … 

Is it too late to hand out my business card?

… Is it too late to make a business card?

12-year-old self

I recently got a message on Instagram from a girl I went to middle school with. She was looking through her old yearbooks, and she found a whole pile of letters I had mailed her during the summer. You know, because snail mail was still a thing, and I wasn’t allowed to have a Facebook.

If I listened to my 12-year-old self for career advice, I would 100 percent be doing something artsy. I was a huge bookworm, so maybe I would have been an author. My favorite authors were — and, if we’re being honest, still are — Lemony Snicket and Markus Zusak, so I would probably have written some fantastical fiction about the power of kind, intelligent, ordinary people to overcome unsurmountable odds without losing their hopeful but realistic worldviews. 

Pretty original, huh?

7-year-old self

7-year-old Cris definitely had no idea what kinds of jobs were out there. If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, I would have probably given the typical answers like firefighter or crossing guard.

I might have also said that I wanted to be a superhero. Or a movie star. Or a video game character.

3-year-old self

Definitely a video game character.