Full Name: Siming Zhai
Class Year: 2019
Major: International Studies and History
Shadowing Visit Site: Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.
Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?
I met with the alumnus in her office in the morning where she spent a little time with me going through her schedule for the day and asked if I had specific interest or questions so that she could connect me with her colleagues in the building who work on those topics. We then started the day with a meeting of the deputy mayor’s office staff. I was very lucky for that the deputy mayor was actually stepping down as she accept a new job in a local branch of Children’s welfare and the press conference of her announcement was held at that day. I was able to meet the mayor, the new deputy mayor and a lot of other government officials working in the same field. In the afternoon, I talked to her and some of her colleagues about their daily routine, job responsibilities and an ongoing project of a homeless shelter. In addition, she introduced me to a staff from a different office working on D.C. Statehood as I was very interested in that.
What I treasure the most from the all-day learning experience was how works are actually carried out step by step. For me, the biggest concern of my transition from college to real life is how can I apply my knowledge and ability into daily executive operations and in what way do I find the bridge from my education to my career goal.
How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?
I am always worried about my career interest being too vague and idealistic. Shadowing the alumnus in a field that I feel appealing to opened a lot doors for me and turned some of my indeterminacies into visible possibilities as I witness the daily life of the Holy Cross graduate who has shared interest with me and moreover, the love and passion she and her colleagues have towards their work proofed to me that work can actually be a realization of your dream.
What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?
Always know where your boss’s purse is.
Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?
For students who are not sure with what they want to do in the future, alumni shadowing can be a short experience of a career which would be really helpful for you to think if that field suits you; for the ones who already have a clear plan, shadowing in the field helps you to get an insider’s view of how to prepare yourself for it. Of course, meeting a crusader out there is always exciting on its own!