As a sophomore, the future is coming quicker than I thought. Now I’m taking advanced courses in my major, actively thinking about which internships to apply for, and generally shaping myself up to enter the working world in 2 to 4 years (taking into account that I’ll likely take a gap year and/or go to grad school).
A lot of these thoughts swirling around are because I work at Arcadia’s Office of Career Education (OCE), where student futures are at the forefront of everything we do. I’ve learned so much from working here over the past year and applying my knowledge: you can read more about my experiences at the OCE in this article.
So when the biggest day of my career life came to fruition, I was pretty much prepared. Mostly. Kind of. Almost? Okay, I was prepared, but nervous. But with 40 resumes, 10 business cards, and copies of my best term paper in tow, I arrived as ready as I could ever be.
Arcadia held the annual internship and career fair in March, as well as the Exhibition of Academic Success (EAS). The fair was an opportunity to network with employers, volunteer organizations, and graduate schools. Meanwhile, the exhibition (hosted by the Honors Program) that happened right after the fair was a way to showcase the work Arcadia students complete inside and outside of the classroom throughout the year. I participated in both, and am so glad I did. The experience was invaluable for a budding Sociology major.
As a career peer advisor with OCE, I also worked behind the scenes on the day of the fair. There was also work before the day of, namely creating a cute Snapchat filter for students to use at the selfie booth and designing various flyers OCE used for promotion. The OCE staff and I pitched in to do things like escort employers to their tables, sign students into the event, and walk around to make sure everybody was happy. From the many student-employer connections I was lucky enough to witness, I’d say they were, which makes the fair a success. I also helped manage the flow of our DiTech-sponsored photo booth, where I’ve gotten my first professional headshot since high school graduation. Fun!
Aside from a minor parking snafu (Arcadia is a teensy campus, after all), everything went off without a hitch. Working backstage was not just a one-day job to me. If I end up working at a nonprofit, duties involving event management will likely be part of my job, so it’s exciting to get that experience firsthand!
After my shift was over, I went to speak to employers at the fair. If you know anything about me, it’s that I go into everything with a game plan. I prepared a list of around 10 employers and volunteer programs I wanted to speak to, and left with a ton of business cards and some promising internship opportunities. Best of all, I only messed up my elevator pitch once, and that wasn’t counted against me. So, if you’re reading this and preparing for your fair, know that one mistake won’t count against you.
I left the internship fair and dashed to set up my table for the EAS. The project I showcased was a blend of formal research and fiction. My term paper for Writing for Social Sciences and finished novel, Death by Society, both focus on the causes of relational aggression and bullying among teen girls. I combined the two into my EAS project and included information about how my research influenced my novel, and vice versa. The EAS was a success: I had some great, insightful conversations with Arcadia community members about my work. That was the first time I showcased my research and novel professionally, and now I’m excited to do so more in the future.
The most valuable thing I got out of the career fair and Exhibition for Academic Success was learning that I am confident enough in my abilities to network and succeed in the field I love. That’s something all Arcadia students need to experience, because the real world is coming up faster than we think. Be prepared to succeed.
Update: In a previous post, I noted that I was considering temporarily leaving Arcadia for personal reasons. I’m happy to announce that I’ve decided not to do so, but this means I will be taking a temporary hiatus from writing for the Because Arcadia blog, as well as cutting down on some other commitments. I look forward to coming back and writing about more of my Arcadia journey in spring 2018 or fall 2019!