MegZWhen I came to college, I decided I did not want to be involved with any student organization. I was burned out to say, on being involved. I had been the President of the Spanish National Honor Society, Treasurer for the Executive Board of Student Council, and Event Coordinator for National Honor Society all during my senior year. I had done all of this so I could get into a university, and now that I was here, I was done. I wanted to have fun in college and not do anything that took too much of my time.

I was checking all my boxes my freshman year at UCF, well all the boxes I wanted to check anyway. I was establishing a great group of friends, having a lot of fun, and doing really well in my classes. Did any of my professors remember me though? No. Did I ever go and speak to a professor? Yes, but only to review a few exams. These classes weren’t related to my major so why did it matter for me to get to know them?

Something changed at the end of my freshman year though. I had a friend get an internship at Ernst & Young LLP. He told me that being involved in Beta Alpha Psi really set him apart from his peers while interviewing for his internship. I looked up to him and his position and immediately began looking into joining BAP. I learned that I needed to be a junior with a pretty decent GPA to be an initiate. So I looked into joining the Student Accounting Society.

In the fall, I joined Student Accounting Society and met an abundance of great students that were just like me. I had a lot of fun building relationships with not only other students but also professionals. At the time, I didn’t realize how important it was to build these relationships. I was subconsciously learning how to interview, how to speak in a professional setting, and how to “build my brand,” as Dr. Massiah would say.

That next spring, I had achieved junior academic status and was ready to join Beta Alpha Psi. It was a rigorous spring semester with Cornerstone and Intermediate Accounting and being part of now two student organizations. My freshman year self would not even recognize my sophomore/junior year self. College was not going according to plan but it was going better than the original plan.

I decided to put myself out there and go through recruiting that same spring. I had taken the skills I learned in SAS and BAP and began interviewing with many accounting firms for summer leadership programs. By the end of a rigorous semester, I had landed four summer leadership programs with various firms. By the end of the summer, I had three internship offers. I took the offer from KPMG for a summer internship in 2015. I had also decided to further my involvement in school by becoming a Student Ambassador for the College of Business starting in the fall of 2014.

This past year has been a whirlwind of a year that has forced me to come out of my shell more and really get to know students, professors, and professionals in the Orlando area. Being an ambassador has made me consider what college is all about and how I can achieve my ultimate goal of graduating and landing a great job. I know that my freshman year self wouldn’t think I would end up where I am but I am happy that I have experienced all that I have through the organizations I am involved in. I would not be interning with KPMG currently if I had not joined SAS and BAP. I would not be on a first name basis with Dean Jarley and certainly not have many people in the college of business to rely on whenever I need to.

I cannot express enough how being involved and setting myself apart as a student has made my college experience more than I could have imagined. I have been surrounded by others that have challenged me and grown me without even trying. Put yourself out there too and become a part of something too.

Meg Zechiel

Accounting Student and CBA Student Ambassador

UCF College of Business