In the last post, I talked a bit about being Black in academics and how that has affected me and my decisions. While it is certainly frustrating, there are other aspects of my school and major that are wonderful. Being able to co-op and work in up to three different industries is an amazing opportunity. I have been able to explore the world of cosmetics, something I have been trying to do since I was 16. I expect college to be hard with going to classes and studying but one thing I didn’t picture being difficult was getting into the cosmetic industry.
As a first year university student I was really frustrated with how hard it was for me to find opportunities in the cosmetic industry. I knew what I wanted to do and was gaining the skills to do it through school but had no connections or experience in the cosmetic industry. This was frustrating as all I wanted to do was dive head first and start with what I was passionate about but I had no idea where to go and what to do. To make matters worse, my school didn’t have a lot of opportunities within the cosmetic industry. While there are a lot of chemical engineers within the cosmetic industry, many institutions don’t advertise it as an option. When a lot of my friends asked what I wanted to do in the future and I told them, many were surprised and didn’t really ever think of the cosmetic industry as an option.
Simple things people use everyday such as body wash, shampoo and other personal care products, many people do give much thought to what goes into creating them.
That when I decided that I would have to figure this out on my own. I wanted to get as much lab experience as possible since I didn’t really gain many lab skills as a chemical engineer. My main mode of communication within the cosmetic field was linkedin. I was surprised that if I just reached out and asked, many people were open to giving me advice and offering me assistance. I asked individuals the best way to get into the cosmetic field, how to gain experience and what I can do to be successful. Many people did not respond but some were eager to answer my questions and lead me in the right direction.
I think a lot of the time it is easy to feel overwhelmed with following or chasing your dreams especially if you are starting from the very beginning. It can be daunting to look at where you want to be and where you are. But I feel that reaching out to those who are already where you want to be can be a great way not only to make connections but also to get advice on how to avoid mistakes they may have made. With just one simple conversation you could end up with an amazing opportunity.
Based on my experience, if you have a goal don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself. There are people out there that you can learn from and are willing to teach and mentor you as they were in your same place not too long ago. So ask questions and gain connections. Don’t be afraid to go up and speak to people because you never know who could be influential in your life.