Making The Most of College – From UCSB to Google

By Annika Rittenhouse

I started college in 2006 at UC Santa Barbara with an undeclared major and no idea what to expect. What I learned in my years in Santa Barbara was that many if not all of the opportunities I had available I had to seek out for myself. I played on the club volleyball team my freshman year of college, joined a sorority my sophmore year, studied abroad in Sweden and Spain my junior year, held 2 internships and a job simultaneously my senior year. I even interned for the State Department and consequently added an extra quarter when I decided to voluntarily intern for my University’s Career Center. I can honestly say none of these things found me, I had to look for them all. Needless to say I have a lot of experience and advice when it comes to taking advantage of the opportunities around you. Two months after graduating from UCSB I landed a job at Google Inc. and I have been working there now for 8 months in the Career Development team supporting Sales (and loving it!) and it’s all thanks to my wealth of experiences while in college. 

Working on the Career Development team at Google has given me good perspective on how opportunities in college are not just college related. Not only do taking advantage of these opportunities and experiences prepare you for getting a good job, but they develop you in the same way that resources within companies develop their employees. I help to create programs that develop employees through skills classes, international experiences, advisory sessions and more, which is so similar to taking classes in college, going abroad, and taking to career counselors etc. Companies find this experience important and useful, so doing it while in college will prove that you are interested in developing yourself as a person as well as for the roles you are applying to. Through this I have learned it is not always about the final product, but what you learn along the way that will get you to where you want to be- which is why I think it is more important than ever for college students to start taking advantage of these opportunities early and often.
Visit my website “Annika’s College Advice” for more information:


  1. Annika,
    I think that it’s awesome you can relate the experiences you had in college to your career. So many people experience college in a ‘bubble’ without bothering to think how the choices they make and the experiences they have will impact their lives. Like you said, you have to search for opportunity; it doesn’t just drop in your lap!

  2. Annika,

    I can relate to this post, however it took me about three years of overly enjoying myself in university before I started seeing the bigger picture. I’m Irish and live in Ireland but funnily enough It was my time spent on Isla Vista that changed my outlook. So many students I met over there were involved in entrepreneurial activities compared to back home, it hit me like a bomb, as Justin wrote opportunities “wouldn’t just drop in” my lap I needed to “do” something to get where i wanted to be.


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