Having It All
Pace student De’Ja Cox ’17 talks two majors, getting involved on campus and off, the importance of taking some time for yourself, and really getting to know the inner you.
Pace student De’Ja Cox ’17 is all about making the most of a situation. “I was at Pace’s Career Services Center within the first month because I really wanted to take full advantage of the college experience. I always felt that I had to build my life, and the only way to do that was to put myself out there, starting with the resources at Pace,” she said; since that day, she’s kept a 3.5 GPA while pursuing a double major in language, culture, and world trade and French, with a minor in political science. And if you expected that to be only the beginning of what Cox has done at Pace since she arrived, you’re right.
Cox also serves as the president of Be The Change, and holds the position of Board member of Pace University’s Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN), as well as serving as a WEN mentor. She is also the secretary of Pace’s Black Student Union in NYC, is one of six Pace students publishing an alternative student newspaper dedicated to innovation, contextual reflection, authenticity, and creativity called The Underground, and—on top of all of that—works part-time in the Office of International Programs and Services as a student assistant, and has applied to be an Orientation Leader. But she’s been especially excited about the ongoing city-wide collaborations that the Black Student Union is negotiating.
“So far, we’ve built great connections with Brooklyn College and their poetry team which has really grown into a mutually supportive and rewarding relationship,” she said, with an eye to the future. She hopes that the Black Student Union will be able to create similar relationships with other New York City colleges and universities.
But even with her great ambitions, Pace has helped Cox realize what her limits are, and to take care of herself first. “I’m a very ambitious person, but I want to be everywhere—and I’m realizing you can’t be everywhere and eat, and get the proper amount of sleep, so, you have to do what you need to keep yourself balanced.” She’s taken advantage of the Counseling Center’s stress management workshops and it’s been a great help to her as she continues to involve herself at Pace.
Cox has been greatly rewarded for her efforts; she was sponsored by current senior Diana Mendez ’15 and by Sue Maxam, EdD, the current assistant vice president of undergraduate education, to represent Pace University at the International Young Leaders Assembly hosted at the United Nations, as well as the Global Peace Foundation’s Conference for American Renewal in Arlington, Virginia, this year. Visiting the UN for the conference was one of her favorite moments brought about through connections with Pace.
“It was a great experience just being there, dressing up, and meeting some of the panelists and hearing what they had to say about being a young leader and about what it means to be an active global citizen,” she says.
Cox has some sage advice for incoming students or ones who haven’t been involved on campus before: Look inward before you look outward towards what you want to do. “Try to analyze yourself, and really, thoroughly define for yourself your core values. You can go from there and get involved—talk to a favorite professor, or a staff member in one of your departments to see what opportunities are available to you. Or do research—conduct informational interviews with executives in fields you’re interested in. We’re in New York, so take advantage of it, and get yourself out there as soon as possible, because there’s a lot of competition.”
As for her own future, Cox currently interns for best-selling author Carole Hyatt, an executive career development expert who founded MISSION: Getting To Next, an organization that runs quarterly workshops for military women transitioning to a civilian career. Cox hopes to get a summer internship with Viacom, BET, or the World Trade Center; she is also considering applying for a Fulbright—or graduate school at Columbia. But she has her priorities in check. “I’m still learning that it’s ok to take a breath sometimes. But I think my chances for making it through this semester on top and alive are high!”
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