Petkov: Don’t pass up the opportunities before you

Antonio Petkov, Columnist

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In the haste that envelops most of our daily routines, it is often difficult to take time to establish connections or attend events like career or study abroad fairs. Many of us have a vague desire to do all the things we were urged to consider, like studying abroad and interning, but these are often sidelined by more pressing matters like homework and midterms.

Despite this, we should make a conscious effort to work toward the aforementioned goals, even if they will not be fruitful in the immediate future. What’s more, this being Northwestern, opportunities are especially prone to presenting themselves at unlikely moments. Not just any opportunities either — very specific opportunities that some of us had been searching for previously, and would be next to impossible to stumble upon anywhere else.

A case in point was last week. On Friday, I trundled into my German class, ready for our discussion of the movie “The Lives of Others “(a fantastic film that I recommend to everyone reading this). Instead, before our lecture, two seniors showed up and told us about a program which involves an entire year of study abroad in Munich at Ludwig Maximilians Universitat.

This was simply surreal; I was born in Munich, have traveled there on a few occasions in the past and have always known I wanted to study there during my college career and take classes at LMU in particular. It was one of those very rare times when people provided me with information that was exceedingly relevant to my interests and plans. Usually that isn’t the case, but somehow things lined up on that particular day.

There was a great information session and presentation Saturday, when I had a chance to learn even more about the program and get to know these great students; it turns out one of them is also a writer at The Daily. Surprisingly, there were very few people who showed up, despite the sign-up list being quite substantial.

The reasons for people signing up and then not coming are myriad. Some of them undoubtedly had midterms or other serious engagements to attend, and others considered waking up at noon on a Saturday unspeakable. Whatever the case may be, it would be an enormous mistake not to take advantage of the interesting and diverse chances that present themselves to you during your time here. Obviously, I am not advocating joining 5,000 organizations and suddenly realizing you are only human, but if there is something relevant to some of your plans, whether they be immediate or in the distant future, you would do well to take an interest. Especially with study abroad, even though freshman year is too early in terms of applying, it is still a good idea to expose yourself to the process itself. What’s more, it is likely that the people you will meet in connection with said interest are very similar to you, and you can make some great friends. So the next time you get an email for a study abroad or career fair, don’t be so quick to cast it aside. In the long run, it might even have a more significant impact on your future than that midterm.

Antonio Petkov is a McCormick freshman. He can be reached at antoniopetkov2017@u.northwestern.edu. If you want to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

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