By Cecilia Yontz, OSCPA marketing and communications intern
It can be difficult to navigate college as a first-generation college student, but Jeena Patel has learned that with motivation and the right goals, you can go far.Patel, a freshman accounting major at the University of Cincinnati, discovered her interest in accounting in high school. When she entered college, she established personal and professional goals, some of which she quickly achieved.
“I would go to [a career coach’s] drop-in hours, and he helped me edit my resume, prepare for interviews, learn what to consider in an offer and how to accept an offer,” said Patel. “The first step is to take the initiative and since I had a set goal in mind, I took the initiative to start talking to him.”
With the help of this career coach, Patel was able to achieve one of her top goals for the year and secure a summer internship.
Patel understands the challenges that come with being a freshman and first-generation student and stressed the importance of building relationships and using resources.
“Always reach out whenever you need help or whenever you think that you could get an opportunity,” she said. “When I came to college, it was very new for me, but I started communicating and networking because you never know who could help you out in the future.”
Last November, Patel attended the Accounting Careers Leadership Academy (ACLA) after hearing about it through a friend. While at the conference, Patel was awarded a scholarship from P&G.
“I really enjoyed that I was able to meet a lot of company representatives and students who are in the same position that I am in and connect with a few of them on LinkedIn,” she said. “And I was extremely grateful for the scholarship because it made a big difference in my college career, especially as a first-year and first-generation student.”
This summer, Patel will intern with Deloitte before returning to school in the fall to continue her undergraduate program. After graduating, Patel aims to obtain her CPA license.