Connecticut College News
Who´s Afraid of the Big Bad Job Market? - By Kate Kolenda ´0903/30/2009
The snow has melted and the campus is looking greener every day. Students can sense that warmer days are quickly approaching, but for many this year, this seasonal excitement is tinged with anxiety. It is an unfortunate fact that we are living in uncertain times. The U.S. economy, as well as the global markets, are floundering, and we are still entangled in a number of aggressive foreign engagements. The post-election high has evaporated and the reality of a new and somewhat experimental administration has come into being. Although many facets of daily existence have become inconstant, time marches on. The final day of classes for this semester is less than six weeks away, and life devoid of school is quickly solidifying. For most seniors, this means it is time to find a job. Although the notion of young people searching for work is not new, it is one that strikes a particularly high level of fear in many students this year. Luckily, Connecticut College´s staff and faculty are aware of students´ angst, and they are eager to alleviate it with practical advice and involved assistance. Julia Browne, a CELS counselor here at Conn, strongly encourages students to use the school´s closely-knit networks. " In a good economy, 65 to 70 percent of jobs are found through some type of networking, and that number only increases in weaker economic times." It is important for work-seeking students to talk to as many people as possible, including their family, friends, professors, past-employers, as well as their fellow students and alumni, says Browne. She also reminded students that "the path that unfolds before you may not be exactly what you had planned it to be. I know ambiguity can be scary, but stay flexible and open to the different opportunities that may come your way." At a recent Dessert and Dialogue, President Higdon advised students in much the same vein. "Don´t be afraid to explore and don´t be afraid to start over." He recommended that students participate in volunteer activities because they "give interviewers a sense of who you are and what distinguishes you." He also stressed the importance of a broad knowledge of foreign cultures, as this can create many opportunities. Even though this may be a time and a topic that makes students want to mentally shut down and pay attention to anything else, President Higdon urged students to keep their heads about them. "You don´t learn anything by talking…you get ahead if you listen."