Wednesday, October 13, 2010 myBiz Blog
Senior Thoughts: What Matters to You by Zack Zaban

Senior Thoughts: Post from UW senior Zack Zaban

As senior year zooms past my eyes, I often find myself thinking about the bigger picture of life.

For the duration of my college experience, I defined my academic success by the percent breakdowns on my tests, letter grades on my papers, and the increase/decrease in my grade point average after the stress of finals subsides.

Yet, I’m starting to realize that I cannot weigh in on my academic experience at UW-Madison solely by my grades and class performance relative to other students in my major. This past summer, I interned at a global media planning firm in Chicago. During my mid and end of summer evaluations, my performance was not rated on a point scale. Instead, my success was measured relative to my actions and “tangibles” that I produce for my client/my teammates.

My experience this summer helped me refocus my goals and aspirations for the future, while answering a huge question: why am I pursing a Journalism and Mass Communication major with a Certificate in Business from the Wisconsin School of Business? Pondering this debate in my mind, I realized that I’m not pushing myself to receive good grades, but rather to gain the skills to help others in the field of advertising and marketing communication.

To reinvigorate the passion to help others, I snagged an internship at a local yoga center in Madison, providing assistance in writing and producing content for social media outlets. This opportunity continues to be much different from a traditional position that you would find through a career center (ie: the Business Career Center, which is an amazing resource… but I digress). Slowly, I’m starting to see how my education fusion of advertising/journalism with business certificate courses resonates in my thought process, regardless of if I am speaking with my boss or crafting a post for Facebook. I didn’t spend the last 3+ years working my hardest in Grainger and Vilas for an A or B on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper; I pushed myself beyond my limits to gain the skills necessary for helping others.

And let me tell you a little secret (this goes for the seniors that are stressing out): when you think about your education in terms of how you can achieve your personal goals and NOT by a number on a page, your anxiety subsides, you can breathe a little easier, and you tend to enjoy life a whole lot more.

So seniors, I have a question for you: how do you define personal success within your classes in the School of Business and outside of your academic life ?

Zack is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying strategic communications and reporting within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In addition to his studies at the SJMC, Zack is pursing a Certificate in Business from the Wisconsin School of Business.