Choosing the University of Illinois for its Advertising program and my admiration for the institution, I embarked on a journey to explore the intersection of business and media. Pairing Advertising with a minor in Spanish and a minor in Informatics, I delved into the technical aspects crucial in today's data-centric advertising landscape. 

Involvement with the American Advertising Federation (AAF) provided invaluable leadership experiences, culminating in presidency roles and a robust network of mentors and peers. Concurrently, internships at AbbVie and part-time work at a bike shop underscored the importance of diverse experiences in shaping professional growth. 

Persistence in securing internships, even amidst rejections, proved instrumental. Real-world experiences enhanced my skill set and bolstered my resume, distinguishing me in the job market. 

Joining The Trade Desk as a Trading Analyst, I applied coursework in advertising and skills honed through internships and extracurriculars. Proactivity in seeking opportunities, exemplified by taking a training course on The Trade Desk during my sophomore year, has been key to adapting to a dynamic industry landscape. At The Trade Desk, the fast-paced, supportive environment fosters continuous learning and meaningful involvement, challenging the notion of mere observation for recent graduates. 

Reflecting on my experience at Illinois, I recognize its foundational role in my career journey. Regardless of career uncertainties, the university provided a diverse knowledge base applicable across various paths. Moving forward, I prioritize continuous learning and industry awareness, recognizing the evolving nature of advertising. Despite completing formal education, I embrace learning as an ongoing process. 

My Illinois experience, shaped by mentors, peers, and faculty, has been instrumental in my personal and professional development. Embracing experimentation and seizing opportunities for growth have been pivotal in my journey. 

My advice to others is to follow their interests, embrace experimentation, and make the most of the innovative culture found on college campuses. Every opportunity is a chance to learn and grow, paving the way for future success.