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Advice from someone who has been in your shoes: Abbie Briskin

Hey everyone! My name is Abbie Briskin and I “graduated” from the First-Year Exploratory Studies (FYES) program the winter term of my first year.

I am now pursuing a degree in Global Studies with a concentration in Human Rights and Justice with minors in Spanish and potentially business consulting.

The road to this discovery was definitely not easy and may not always be easy for you either, but that’s what makes the process so much more worth it!

Here are my top pieces of advice for students entering this program:

1. Talk to people

Your FYES advisors

Karen and Nina are the liaisons between you and multiple other resources that you might be unaware of. Even when they don’t know certain information, they will connect you with people who do. Both Karen and Nina are amazing advisors who are specifically there for you. Use your time with them to your advantage!

First-year career advisor

Speak to Emily Parry, the first-year career counselor as well. Emily was incredibly helpful by doing research with me about various careers, the skills necessary to enter those fields, and how I can do so at Drexel. With her help, I’ve learned about various career paths and have begun thinking about the logistics and experiences I need to have in order to pursue a potential career path.

Major-specific advisors

These advisors know all about the coursework, success rates, and related careers. You will probably be interested in certain majors without really knowing much about them, so go talk to the advisors! They can give pertinent information about what you can do with that certain degree and how your time at Drexel will look.

Your co-op advisor

Co-op advisors can help you use the ES&P archives, which are all of the documented jobs Drexel students have taken as co-op, and research different fields you can try for your co-op. Speaking to your co-op advisor and looking at past co-ops might give you a sense of what certain majors offer for careers and what students did specifically.


A lot of professors teach as their side gig, or after they have retired from the careers you may want to explore. They have the information you are seeking and credible expertise. They have first-hand accounts on what the day-to-days of a specific work are, or about difficulties getting into the field and just generally what the fields require for graduates.


Upper-class students are settled within their majors have first-hand knowledge on the classes you will be taking and can offer valuable advice on how to succeed. Asking them what their goals are and why they chose their majors will help you think about those reasons for yourself, too. You can also ask about the co-ops they have taken. My major is so broad that it helped me to talk to students within the major because I got to learn more about my options.

2. Do your own research

Use the Drexel Catalog

Drexel has this really cool tool where you can not only read and learn about all of the majors the school offers, but also get a look at all of the classes you’ll need to take for a certain major. You can look up the plan of study and degree requirements for each major. Read about the classes you’ll be taking for a specific major and see if it’s something that interests you. If not, you can read about the hundreds of other majors Drexel has. The information is yours if you look for it.

Take a variety of classes

You’re in the FYES program for a reason! Don’t limit yourself to just business classes or a strictly STEM path. Take whatever classes interest you. I took business, design and global studies and I was fortunate that the program allowed me to take classes across three different schools! Explore while you can. It might be more difficult to freelance like this once you’ve settled into a major. Take that computer science class, the art history class, the biology class. As the saying goes, you’ll never know until you try.

Get involved

In an uncertain time where commitment is difficult, joining clubs helps—and Drexel has so many to choose from. You meet really diverse people and find outlets for fun in your free time. You can even question people about their majors, which will help you think about what yours could be. There are also several academic clubs that might give you some insight into certain majors and careers.

Do general research

The world’s information is right at your fingertips. Don’t rely solely on Drexel to figure yourself out, go online! Are you interested in career paths of a Design and Merchandising major? Google it. Want to know the salary of an economist? Google will tell you. Questions involving career paths, day-to-day, salaries, and required skills are all available online. Thousands of websites offer answers, you just have to ask.

3. Trust the process

Know that being an undecided student is not a negative thing. It is very real. And no one knows what they’re doing 100 percent of the time, so why fake it? You are embracing that you don’t know and power to you. You are brave enough to try different things and classes instead of committing yourself to something you don’t like. The FYES program is a great way for you to find your interests. Not many schools offer an opportunity like this. I know how easy it is to become frustrated and discouraged. But it is important to realize that not knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life is completely normal. How are you supposed to know? I’m sure your high school gym class didn’t aid in that process. So, take a step back. Relax. Take things as they come. Interests develop over time and your answers won’t come overnight. Trust that utilizing Drexel’s resources as well as doing your own research will help you narrow and navigate your interests. If it helps, I have already declared my major, but I still don’t know what I want to do with it yet. And that’s okay.