Making the Most of My College Education


By Regan Salvator

As a senior in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated college. I went into my freshman year at Ohio University as an education major, possibly wanting to teach high school calculus. At this point I still wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do after college because I wasn’t super-excited about the major I chose. I felt as if I was wasting my college opportunity in that I knew how expensive tuition was and, although I was working very hard in all of my classes, I really wanted to pick a major that I loved. I took my first-ever accounting class my sophomore year at OU for a business minor that I planned to treat as sort of a back-up to my not-so-hopeful calculus teacher plan. It was Intro to Financial Accounting; I loved it and knew about a month into the course that I was going to declare accounting as my major.

I began my summer internship in May, before my senior year. During my interviews with Schneider Downs I was told that I would be treated as a staff. Although I initially thought that I would be treated as more of a typical intern; making copies and basically doing the bare minimum when it came to audit work; this has not been the case at all. My first day out of training, I was put onto a job with two staff members and was given multiple tasks.  I never thought I would be that happy to be assigned to consistent work! From that point on, up until today where I’m out at a client site on a job, I have been assigned to a multitude of different clients. I have been exposed to financial statement interim fieldwork, audits, and reviews, as well as ERISA plan audits. I had no idea what ERISA even meant before I started, but it stands for Employee Retirement Income Security Act. After each client I work on, the staff or in-charge who worked with me on that specific client will fill out an evaluation form informing me of things I did well and things I could work on. I find this very helpful in that I use this feedback to know what I can improve on for future engagements. I have also had mentor meetings with my assigned manager, where I have been able to talk about my experience, e.g., things I would maybe want to work on that I haven’t yet had the chance to, which I think is very important. Throughout my internship, I have felt comfortable asking any staff, in-charge, senior, etc., for help if I need it. That’s what I think I love most about Schneider Downs: people who are genuine and who want to help you do well. I am about two weeks away from the end of my internship and, although I have only been here for about a month and a half, I have learned so much more than I could have imagined as an intern while meeting some really great people along the way.

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