Dyson Communications student Opal Vadhan ’15 has accomplished more in just a few years at Pace than many professionals do in a decade of work.
When she’s not juggling being a full-time student, resident advisor, and student speaker for Pace Admissions, Opal is putting it all to practice with internships at Sony Music Entertainment and The Rachael Ray Show, work with High School Music star Monique Coleman’s GimmeMo.com, and deciding between internships this fall.
She was also the recipient of the 2013 New York Women in Communications We TV scholarship, is a member of Seventeen Social Club and the Teen Vogue IT Girls, serves as a panelist for a new web series, The 7 Sisters Project, and has been featured on Microsoft Education VP Anthony Salcito’s website.
In addition, she “took a summer off” this year to do what makes her happiest—helping others. A summer in Kingston, Jamaica, wasn’t sandy beaches and resorts for Opal, who spent a month with the Marist Mission Sisters volunteering with unprivileged children who called her “Aunty Opal.”
And she’s also a blogger for the Huffington Post. So far, Opal has had three pieces published, including two on her summer volunteer trip to Jamaica. The first, Becoming Your Dream, tackles five key points that continue to help her live her dream.
Becoming Your Dream
By Opal Vadhan
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”—Harriet Tubman
I’m an avid lover of quotes, and the quote by Harriet Tubman is one that I am constantly telling those around me.
Every day I wake up, and cannot believe that I am living my dream. It wasn’t easy to get here, and it still isn’t easy being here, but there is nothing else I want to do. I want to help you all, become your dream and this is what helped me get to where I am today.
1. Find Your Passion—I know you probably hear this a lot, but try everything you can, and you will eventually find what you like. Join different clubs in high school, try out for the sports team, and get involved. Reach out to organizations that interest you and see how you can volunteer or intern. The sooner you find what you love doing, the easier it is to do it for the rest of your life.
2. Reach Out—At 13 years old I loved television and would sneakily watch TRL every day after school. My 8th grade English teacher had us do an assignment of a place we would like to work and contact them. I dreamed of working at MTV, and I somehow found an email to one of the producers of TRL and I sent a blind email. The producer allowed me to spend a day behind the scenes at TRL and from that moment I knew I wanted to work in television. This is your moment to reach out to people who have your dream career. Do your research, send an email — the worst that can happen is that you don’t get an answer. But don’t let that stop you: reach out to others in that field. People are willing to help those get started because at one time, someone helped them.
3. Build Your Resume—It is true what they say: Interning is the first thing to get your foot in the door. But people ask me all the time “how do you get an internship with no experience?” Start early with little jobs, I started tutoring little kids at 11 years old. Then I moved onto waitressing, volunteering, and at 16 I got a job as a sales associate at Lacoste. None of those were my dream jobs but they helped me add to my resume. I then reached out to internships in high school and I landed one in the nonprofit industry. That lead me to my next internship at Sony Music Entertainment, which wasn’t TV but still in entertainment and all of that helped me to intern in the television industry where I just finished interning at The Rachael Ray Show.
4. Network—Wherever you work be sure to get to know as many people as you can. You never know who you will meet and who can help you. Interning at one of the nonprofits lead me to meet my boss at Sony Music who was looking for an intern. It also allows you to learn about career journeys and what steps to take in your career path. You may also find some incredible mentors out there who want to help you.
5. Persistence Is Key—Never lose hope. If you don’t get one job, there is always another job out there waiting for you. Apply to as many places as you can, take each interview you get, and then you decide which feels right for you. Always go into an interview prepared and think to yourself, you are meant for this position. Remember these companies are looking for bright, talented, driven students like you.
This is what helped me achieve my dreams, and I still use these tips today to keep working on my dreams. It does take hard work, but trust me—it does pay off. I hope that you get something out of this and I would love to hear how you all are going after your dreams.
So how do you live your dream? Share your story with us! And stay tuned for next week as we share another student who’s making an impact around the world.