CLAS student Spotlight: Jiongnan Liu

I had the amazing opportunity to speak with Jiongnan Liu, a 4th year psychological sciences major. Speaking with her about her career choices and the opportunities she’s had is something that I feel that all UConn students should hear. I hope her experience gives you a little bit of insight on how another husky is developing her career path!  

Inchan Hwang: What is your plan outside of college? Finding employment? Grad school? Gap year?

Jiongnan Liu: “I am currently planning on taking a gap year while I hopefully apply to medical school. During this gap year, I will mostly be focused on my applications but will probably be taking time to take a break from school and recharge.”

IH: Back in your high school days, what were your intentions when choosing your major?

JL: “I have always known that I wanted to be on the pre-med track. Originally, I was going to be either a biology or chemistry major. But I did not really enjoy those AP classes in high school and after researching, I realized that a student can be any major and still be pre-med. I always knew that I leaned a little bit more on the humanities side so while staying on the science side, I thought that psychology was a good fit for me. I also wanted to approach medicine from a different perspective as opposed to strictly physiological. Humans are too incredibly complex to expect that one school of thought can explain every ailment and [typicality].”

IH: How planned was your path going into college? Were all of your decisions thought out before or did you go into college with a “go with the flow” mindset?

JL: “I think that I always knew that I would go to college. I am a very meticulous person so I did my best to plan out everything, but I have also lived high school in that way and I knew I missed out on some things because I always “played by the book.” So, coming into college, I knew that I not only wanted to take advantage of the academics, but also the social aspects of this chapter of life.” 

IH: What have you accomplished during your time at UConn that you feel has made your candidacy for future employment stronger?

JL: “I am lucky enough to be the recipient of all the resources that UConn has to offer. I have taken leadership roles of which I did not think I was capable as a section leader in the UConn Marching band. I have also had the pleasure of networking with the pre-medical society and received information about a medical scribe job which I did for 2 years, giving me firsthand experience in healthcare. Lastly, I am also involved in a research lab, giving me hands on experience in the process of research. I think that all of these experiences helped me recognize what I could do and what I actually liked as opposed to what I thought I liked. Knowing these strengths about me and having these experiences can help me build a stronger resume and be a more competitive candidate for future school and employment. “ 

IH: Have your initial intentions or plans changed? If so, how have they changed and what caused those changes?

JL: “I don’t think that my initial plans have changed drastically. I hope to go to medical school and am working towards that currently. However, I think that my mindset towards the journey has changed. I realize now that it is just as important to live my life as it is to live for a goal. Sometimes, I am lost in the mountain of expectations, sometimes unrealistic, that I have to maintain, and I lose myself in the process. So now, although I am building my resume for this goal, I am also on the lookout to take time for myself and recharge so that I can tackle this goal with more passion and excitement.”

IH: As a 4th year UConn student, what are some resources, events, or opportunities that you’ve taken advantage of and utilized on campus that you felt really helped you develop your career pursuit?

JL: “I read the Daily Digest, and I don’t know if a lot of people do. There are so many good opportunities and announcements there! I have gone on service trips abroad, volunteer opportunities, and career readiness events due to the announcements there. There are a lot of nitty gritty things, like how your resume looks, that you don’t think about until it’s too late and so I recommend everyone take advantage of the resources at UConn that help with that because it really makes a difference.” 

IH: How well do you feel prepared for the upcoming transition? (graduation to job or grad school)?

JL: “I don’t think that I will ever feel completely prepared, especially since I am still in the early process of applying, but I think that my time at UConn has prepared me for the unexpected. Things will probably not go as smoothly as I want it to be, but I think that I’ve grown enough as a person and a student that I will be able to do my best with the situation.” 

IH: What steps do you wish you had taken during your time at UConn? What opportunities have you may be overlooked that could’ve been vital for you?

JL: “I wish I was more involved socially. I think that I was very good at taking advantage of the academic aspects of UConn but I wish I spent more time looking at student organizations. At the involvement fair, I realized that there is so much offered that I wish I had tried. I think that I would have found new interests and friends that would have made my time at UConn more fun.”

IH: Lastly, what advice would you give to similar students to you that are struggling or anxious about the current path they are going on? What are some important things they should do while they are still in college?

JL: “Take time for yourself. Although you’re literally in your prime, you will also experience some incredible stress. Sleep is important, and three-square meals a day is easier said than done. But if you take time to take care of yourself, you can be well enough to tackle your problems. There will be times when you feel that the things you do is irrelevant and you’ll lose the passion with which you started out. And that’s ok; find it again after you take a break. And if you realize you can’t, then maybe it wasn’t there from the beginning. But no matter what, it is never too late to start looking for it, never settle just because it’s easier. College is not just a place for academic achievements, find your friends and your group will center you.”

By Inchan Hwang
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