BY NAIEKA RAJ ’19
November is the time of year when upperclassmen at Mount Holyoke are no longer safe from the crushing pressures of “the real world.” Even as a junior, I’ve begun to feel it. Some of us are too comfortable in a protective bubble of convenient meal swipes and daily routines. Finding the time to submit resumes is challenging enough, but once you start reflecting on the likelihood of getting your dream job, the worries seem endless. While all college students face some version of this struggle, to what extent does Mount Holyoke successfully guide juniors and seniors through this process?
The Career Development Center (CDC) connects students with alumns or affiliated programs and helps with the job search and application process. However, I still find making connections without the CDC a much easier undertaking.
While some students enter college knowing exactly where their life plan is taking them, others figure it out along the way. If you never come to this epiphany, however, college can be incredibly difficult. Mount Holyoke does not provide a venue for students to explore and figure out the niche fields in the market, and the best resource for many students is still the internet. This may seem like an accessible option, but considering the tuition students pay yearly to attend this school, we should be better prepared. Instead, I’m spending my nights googling “Best Jobs for Philosophy Majors” or “Six Careers That Help Pay Off Your Student Loans.”
Perhaps this failure, in and of itself, prepares students for the real world where nobody is paid to look out for your best interests and independence holds an entirely new meaning. But sadly, despite being provided with a good education for the past three years, I am struggling to imagine a future where I put it to use.
One solution to this problem would be for each department to host workshops where experienced individuals from different fields come and talk to current students — fields less obvious than doctors and lawyers please. Perhaps our classes could include some information about real world professions. In addition, the CDC could help in researching potential career paths instead of solely relying on our prior knowledge on the subject. Of course, I want to stay away from the assumption that higher education is a service-providing industry, but helping students apply their education beyond the brick walls of campus seems only logical.
I know that networking events and conferences are aplenty, but how much do Mount Holyoke students really benefit from these opportunities? Admittedly, a lot of alums go on to do wonderful things, so obviously the school is doing something right. But for a student with limited work experience and an inability to properly articulate their passions, Mount Holyoke is unable to provide adequate career planning and guidance.
This piece appeared in the Nov. 9 issue alongside an article by ELIZABETH LITCHFIELD ’18 under the headline "Upperclassmen weigh in on the Career Development Center."