Nick (third from the right) arriving at Harvard.
What was it like to go from a pretty relaxed educational environment, where you didn’t really need to study, to Harvard? Did you struggle with that transition at all?
It was a huge difference. I remember taking an economics class my freshman year. I went to all the review sessions, but I didn’t really know how to study outside of that and so I didn’t, which I think definitely hurt my grade in that class. I also had some reading intensive courses which were difficult because I’d never had to read that much before. I enrolled in a reading class to get help and develop a more efficient reading strategy. I also found it hard to adjust to having to do homework every single day, for 3+ hours. The good thing is there’s a lot of support offered, but it’s really easy to just give up. Pushing through is definitely the most important thing.
When he was growing up, Nick’s parents jumped between jobs a lot, which led to a lot of instability. They always stressed the importance of college. However, now that Nick is in college, they sometimes don’t understand why he’s is majoring in sociology or the kinds of jobs he could have with that degree.
What would you say to students who want to major in something that their parents don't think is going to get them a good job?
I think when talking to your parents, it’s important for people to keep in mind that at a lot of schools your major doesn’t matter that much, a lot of it has to do with what you’re involved with on campus and how much work you’re willing to put in. For example, if I wanted to go into consulting, I wouldn’t necessarily have to focus on economics or applied math because we have so many consulting groups on campus that I could just get involved in one of those. Or if I wanted to go to law school, I wouldn't have to major in Political Science because the LSAT (*law school entrance exam*) doesn’t cover political theory. So really, it comes down to factors other than your major, like internships and networking. Actually, I think networking might be the most important thing.