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Sophomore Hannah Wald attended the Chicago 'Cats Connect networking reception on July 15.

Sophomore Hannah Wald attended the Chicago ‘Cats Connect networking reception on July 15.

Hannah Wald is a WCAS sophomore double majoring in international studies and political science. Hannah attended the ‘Cats Connect student-alumni networking reception in Chicago on July 15. Hannah is originally from California and is interested in pursuing a career in marketing and communications.

Why did you attend the Cats Connect alumni-student networking event in Chicago?
I decided to attend the ‘Cats Connect Student-Alumni networking reception because I wanted to be able to meet some great alumni who could provide me with valuable insight on their careers after Northwestern and opportunities to think about career paths based on our interests and passions. I knew what my major was and what I was interested in, but I didn’t have any idea on where to look for what kinds of careers I could make from them or what kind of industry I wanted to go into. Talking to alumni really opened my eyes into exploring the possibilities of different career paths and to not limit myself to just one field. I learned the importance of being open to different fields and to allow myself to try new things along the way as I look into building my career.

Northwestern students and alumni network at the Chicago 'Cats Connect.

Northwestern students and alumni network at the Chicago ‘Cats Connect.

How did you navigate the networking event? What advice do you have for other students?
I navigated the event by finding people to talk to one-in-one so I could have a meaningful conversation with an alumnus/alumna. Because of my hearing disorder, I often feel overwhelmed in a big group of people talking at once and it makes it difficult for me to hear people. It made things easier for me to talk and not be anxious, and with the more personal interactions I was able to receive more valuable insight catered to my unique experiences. I was comfortable talking with the alumni at the event because I knew that they were there to listen to me and for me to listen to them and to have a conversation.

Did you meet anyone interesting?
At the Cats Connect event, I met with two different people, Kristen Grisius from the Law table and Marilyn Stein from the Marketing and Communications table.  They were both very nice and willing to talk to me and give me advice on the things that I can do with an International Relations and Political Science.  Ms. Stein shared a similar background in me and went into the marketing field and offered me advice that I can go into multiple career fields.

Chicago Event 2What was your biggest takeaway from Cats Connect?
I would say my biggest takeaway from Cats Connect was the reassurance that I still had the ability to decide how I wanted to pursue my future career and the realization that my specific majors and areas of interest were not limited to one type of career or field of industry.  I had a greater level of freedom of exploring different professions and jobs than I ever thought I had before, which really excited me for what is ahead.  I have learned that it’s okay to change career paths and to even try a bunch of different things before you finally settle into a career that you are passionate about, and it is the best of both worlds if you enjoy your work and are successful at the same time.

Would you recommend other Northwestern students attend? If so, why?
I would highly recommend other Northwestern students attend this event because you never know who you end up meeting in the process. If someone is nervous about always staying professional or worrying about saying the wrong thing, it is important to remember that the alumni that speak to you are there to help you and are there to guide you in a career path that is perfect for you.  Just keep an open mind and open ears and I think anyone can gain from attending unique event such as Cats Connect.