Real Talk with PSG Alum Priya Vithani
Is dedicating my life to the public service and government sector worth it? Will I be able to survive financially? These two questions are on the minds of every college student trying to land a job in PSG. In the competitive environment at UVA where there is pressure to land a job with a high salary, it can be easy to lose sight of why the work you do is worth it. Amongst all of these concerns, it might be helpful to hear from a UVA alum who has been in your shoes and survived!
Priya Vithani graduated from UVA in 2013 with a Bachelors of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, Human Rights in the Middle East
Much like everyone in the public service and government field, Priya was naturally worried about having a decent salary to live a sustainable life in a place like New York or Washington D.C. where many jobs in her area of interest exist. Working at the state department had always been a dream for Priya and coincidentally it ended up being the first thing that worked out after graduation, and even though it was a leap of faith because she had never lived in D.C. and was one of the youngest people currently working there, she fondly remembers it as one of the best decisions she could have made.
Priya recounted how searching for her first job was not the easiest but she attributes her success in the field to taking advantage of the vast network available in public service and government jobs, especially the UVA alumni network. "Don't be afraid to reach out to a random stranger. The worst thing you can do is to not reach out to someone who is doing something you are interested in!"
Priya moved on from her job with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor to the Bureau of International Organizations, which she claims is yet another perk for working for the State Department; there is always an opportunity to look forward to. She has since moved on to work for the world-renowned micro-lending nonprofit, Kiva, and now is a Financial Sector Specialist for the World Bank. She claims that apart from keeping her life interesting and being able to travel all over the world she is "much more flexible and adaptable than I was in the past. I'm also a lot calmer in the face of deadlines and I've learned how to prioritize my work."
The PSG community hopes that Priya's story has helped calm some nerves! If you would like to hear from more PSG alums, please stay tuned for a new story next week as part of the PSG Real Talk blog series.