I first heard about PLEN through a friend that attended a previous seminar. At first, I didn’t think much of it. However, when I decided to go on the PLEN website, I was surprised to see all the different seminars available for women to attend. I had just changed my major and was struggling on finding career options, so I decided to attend a seminar. I’m the daughter of immigrants, so as I was picking which seminar to attend, the Women in Global Policy seminar grabbed my attention. Global policy and immigration are the reasons my parents are Americans today, so I wanted to learn more about career options in global policy.
Despite my excitement for the global policy seminar, I had to find a way to pay for it. I live in St. Paul, Minnesota and before the pandemic, I had to plan for a trip to D.C. Not only am I the daughter of immigrants, but I’m also a first-generation college student. I’m also the oldest of five and a trip to D.C was too expensive. Because of these factors, I was relieved to see that PLEN had a scholarship available. The scholarship has given me the opportunity to make connections and explore career options. More importantly, PLEN has taught me that it’s okay to explore my interests.
Throughout the virtual seminar, I got to listen to many different stories and hear the different educational and personal journeys of professional women. All the stories that I had the privilege to hear were each inspiring in their own way. My personal favorite part of the seminar was the storytelling session. In this session, I got to learn how I could tell my own story and how I could use my voice. This session stuck out to me the most because I realized that I’m not done with my story yet. While I was listening to the session, I was thinking about the possible way, I could tell my own story. I falsely recognized that I didn’t have a story to tell. However, I did have a story to tell, it just wasn’t complete. I might not know what career I want or where life is taking me, but I know that my story isn’t over, it’s just beginning.
Maryam Arab is a rising senior at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a social science student currently exploring career options related to community engagement and the local and federal government. She attended the Women in Global Policy virtual seminar to participate in career exploration. She will graduate in May 2021.