Conquering the Real World: An Interview with FSU Alum Kevin Gomez

"There is something to gain in everything we participate in."

Whether you’re just finishing up your first year or a few weeks away from graduating, there’s never a bad time to pick up some advice on how to succeed in the real world. And who better to give that advice than a former FSU student.

I had the pleasure of interviewing my good friend and alum, Kevin Gomez. Gomez graduated last year and is now pursuing a master’s degree at George Mason University. While at FSU, he was the president of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), the GenFKD campus fellow, and the president of the Economics Club.

What was one of the most memorable experiences in your leadership positions here at Florida State University?

“The most memorable is probably the GenFKD mock presidential debate we called, “Pizza and Politics.” We found eight students to pose as the candidates that were running in the presidential election. They did a beautiful job staying in character and being well versed in their respective candidate’s stances on a wide variety of issues. What was memorable about it was the unexpected turnout for this event. All of a sudden, we had long line at the door and ended up entertaining over 250 students! Getting college students to come out to anything that does not have alcohol or someone famous is like pulling teeth. Pizza does help, though. We were so happy with the success of that event.”

Do you feel that your education here properly prepared you for your graduate school?

“The education I received at FSU was superb, in my opinion. The professors were very helpful and the diverse curriculum provided a solid foundation that prepared me for the material in graduate school.”

Were there any student activities that you participated in here at Florida State University that prepared you well for your post-grad work?

“There is something to gain in everything we participate in. I learned how to host events, how to network with people, and how to communicate dry ideas in fun and innovative ways. These things are not only helping in graduate school, but will help me throughout my career. We will constantly have to update ourselves by learning new information. However, being able to effectively interact with people stem from all the student activities I was involved in – huge return on investment.”

What subject are you getting your master’s degree in? Why?

“Economics. It changed my life and now I want to help change other people’s lives. Oh, and I want to be paid while doing it. However, really, economics is in all human action. Therefore, it is arguably one of the most important subjects to understand. If we can more clearly think about how people act and make decisions, given our constraints, we can make better, more efficient decisions that benefit not only society, but also the world and ourselves.”

Can you give students some tips for applying for jobs and or graduate school?

“Cozy up to your professors, or at least the ones you enjoy. Make sure they know who you are. It is awkward asking a professor to write a letter of recommendation for you when they do not even know your name.

For graduate school, I only applied to the one I am currently attending, but this is not usually recommended. Apply early and apply to more than just one. I got lucky with being accepted to this graduate program, but I also did not really want to do any other one. I did everything possible to get in. I even did an internship the summer before graduating to meet people there and confirm that this is really, where I wanted to go.

Do not go to graduate school just to go. Really assess the costs and benefits of going – pardon my economics.”

How about some tips to enrich their college education? Such as involvement, classes, etc.

“We all do it. We go to class and sit at our desks playing with our phones or our computers. Or, even worse, we just sit there and stare off into space. Stop doing that. Look to the person next to you and chat them up. Find out their name, what they are into, why they are taking this class, and what they do outside of class. Not everyone gets to be a part of a college-educated network. Make sure you capitalize on that by joining organizations, clubs, and other student groups. These people will most likely hook you up with a job or reference down the line.

Aside from that, understand your industry and the skills needed to be successful in that industry. The little effort you put into researching this can save you tons of cheddar and future headaches. Get passionate about learning and do not be afraid to take advantage of the resources on your computer and in your school. You are not THAT busy… I promise.”

Any closing thoughts for students and millennials you want to share?

“’Every day is what you make it.’ or ‘Good things may come to those who wait, but only the good things left from those who hustle.’ These quotes, which are not my own, are quotes that I try to live by and I feel could be internalized by everyone. We are in charge of our destinies, not anyone else. However, we must interact with people and successful folk seem to do this quite well.

This world is tough and confusing, but we will get through it if we take individual responsibility for our actions and well-calculated moves. Importantly, not everything is all serious and business all the time. Try to have fun with everything you decide to take on. It makes everything easier.”


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Posted 04.27.2017 - 05:30 pm EDT