The Switch

Written by Justin Alick: 1488726_10203636548533896_878635459_n

I have very much enjoyed the road to becoming an actuary over the past years. I passed the Probability exam in May, studying countless hours that paid off. To get there, I spent the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years of college taking calculus classes at a nearby college in New York City to get me on track for the upcoming school year. Now that I’m on track and with one exam under my belt, I’ve been diligently preparing for Financial Mathematics. Studying for Exam FM has made me look back on my road to actuarial science and has further solidified my confidence in my major.

The first time I heard of “actuarial science” was from a high school junior in my trigonometry class. One day in class, one of my peers asked the principal with a lot of skepticism for suggestions on future career paths we could pursue in math. Among his answers of various types of engineering, teaching, and computer science, he mentioned something in passing stood out to me – actuarial science. He explained that actuarial science was something that “mathematical geniuses” got involved with and it required a lot of exams. I was marveled by the word and curious what it meant. Later that night I researched the basics of the career and placed it in the back of my brain.

I originally was accepted to St. John’s University as a pharmacy major, but during the summer I realized I couldn’t really see myself working as a health professional and made the decision to switch to Finance before my Freshman year had even begun. Although I greatly enjoyed my finance classes freshman year and excelled at them, I had an itch in the back of my mind that I wanted something more challenging and more mathematically based for my future career. Actuarial science came to mind as something I’d want to possibly pursue since that one day in my trigonometry class, even though I originally thought I wasn’t smart enough for the career. After a lot of consultation with my dean, different professors, and parents – I decided to transfer to actuarial science. Switching to actuarial science was certainly the best academic and career decision I could’ve made for myself for a multitude of reasons.

St. John’s is one of only 25 of the SOA’s Center of Actuarial Excellence. The amazing and well-respected actuarial program at St. John’s has already been an asset to me for an internship search and I can only imagine what other benefits it will bring as I quickly approach my search for a career launching pad. The insurance industry is booming and in-demand, something that is always good news for newly graduated students. As my time as an undergraduate student comes to an end, I’m working harder than ever to buckle down and pass exams. After Financial Mathematics, I am looking to explore Models of Financial Economics and use Coaching Actuaries to help me pass. I’m excited to see what the future holds and am so glad I made the decision to pursue actuarial science!