1st Year Student’s Look at life at Champlain College while Working.
The first semester of college is full of the excitement of independence, freedom, and the novelty of doing something new. Students are finding or digging into the fields they wish to be a part of in the years to come. I was very excited to be a member of Champlain College’s Computer Networking and Cybersecurity program. I never got the chance to take dedicated computer courses in high school, and I was looking forward to starting to add to my self-taught experience. But as fun as college can be, it is intended to prepare you for joining the workforce, and working while in college is often a good way to prepare.
Searching for a job can be a daunting task as a college student with limited experience. I was particularly worried about finding a job that allowed me to schedule around classes and in a way that allowed me to keep up with my schoolwork and other obligations. I applied to Champlain College’s Senator Patrick Leahy Center for Digital Investigation (LCDI) because I wanted to work in a field relative to my major so that I could apply what I was learning in class to the real world. Applying as a first year student worried me, because I knew many other applicants would have more experience. However, I found that the LCDI has positions exclusively for first year students. The LCDI also gives you a lot of flexibility to work around your classes, making balancing work and studying much less stressful.
I was not entirely sure what to expect when arriving for my first day of work at the LCDI. I was excited to begin my first job in a field related to my major and I was looking forward to applying what I was learning in my classes to real world situations. Upon my arrival I was introduced to some of my co-workers and shown around the newly renovated office. After the tour and introductions were over, I was assigned a project. I found that the LCDI’s method of job training via projects is a great way to get used to the procedures of the LCDI. I was working on an actual project that would be published, and I was impressed with the level of responsibility the LCDI trusted me with just starting out. The LCDI was also sure to get me involved with events as soon as possible. I found myself talking about my position and what I was doing at an Open House just 3 weeks after I started working for the LCDI.
An added benefit of working at the LCDI is being able to talk to others about their projects and learn from what they are doing. I have already found that working at the LCDI has helped me solidify my knowledge and what I am learning in class simply by making me use the terms and concepts in conversation. I have also found that everyone at the LCDI is very friendly and willing to talk or even help solve issues that may arise over the course of a project.
Overall, I am enjoying both the adventure of college and the work I am doing at the LCDI. I am amazed at how much I have already learned and cannot wait to see what I will learn in the future.