Graduates: Alex Elbaum

I came into Queens College absolutely and completely certain about many things (*all* the things) and left with a similar degree of certainty about an entirely new set of ideas and principles – in the 7 years since my graduation all those certainties have been turned on their head but I’ve begun to (and indeed just very recently) rely less on what I perceive as certain and more on my ability to navigate uncertainty. Ultimately, I think my time at Queens College equipped me with the ability to do just that — to approach matters both critically and passionately and to adapt and adjust to changes in my chosen communities, career, creative pursuits…   

I don’t really know what I am doing now but I’ll discuss the various things that I have done.

  • I started a phd program at Columbia in literature and while it was not the right place for me I can say with full confidence that my undergraduate education left me just as prepared to succeed in that program as any of my peers. After spending time at Columbia — around undergraduates, graduate students, and professors and administrators — I feel all the more proud of everything that I was exposed to at Queens.
  • I worked in non-profit development and in law (as a paralegal and law clerk) for the past four years and I think the critical thinking and writing skills I developed at Queens were a big advantage for me… but really those are both fields where you just learn as you do and require more than anything else a strong work ethic and good people skills.
  • I also spent a year and a half self-employed and what could have been a nerve-wracking time for me was actually one of the best times in my life… I think because Queens prepared me well to work independently and creatively.

I’ll add that there are aspects professional life that Queens did not prepare me for very well (but realistically this is probably just due to my temperament): primarily the ability to network and sell myself.

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