The Career Center (http://careercenter.wustl.edu/) puts on a two-day camp right before school begins called “Career Camp.” This year, the camp was open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Students moved in five days before school began and attended selected sessions on Thursday and Friday.
It sounded pretty awesome—five extra days to settle in my dorm room, meeting up with friends earlier, and learning about ways to better prepare for my future.
I am one of those people who hate making big decisions in life. I would avoid answering questions about my goals and future plans as much as possible, and I think I’ve become pretty good at avoiding them.
Last year, the indecisive me decided to switch my major multiple times. This summer, the even more indecisive me decided that it was a far more appealing idea to travel in China than to take a desk job here in St. Louis.
This is exactly why I decided that it was time for me to finally sit down and think about what I want to do after graduation.
I researched online what Career Camp focuses on and how it prepares students for internships and jobs; surprisingly, all of these bullet points mentioned seemed to scream “YOU NEED ME” at my face:
- Reflect on your previous summer and college experience for future decision making
- Identify your interests and explore options within those areas
- Understand how to select and apply to the right graduate, medical or law school
- Explore career paths and network with industry professionals
- Build professional skills, such as resume and cover-letter writing, interviewing and networking
- Connect with an advisor to support you throughout the year
- Practice your interviewing skills with a mock interview with a St. Louis organization, a medical school mock interview, or conduct an informational interview with a graduate student
- Create an individualized action plan for the year ahead
On Wednesday, I moved into my dorm room at the Village, unpacked, settled in, and mentally prepared myself for the sessions on Thursday. I checked the emails sent out by the coordinators of the event, and selected the sessions that sounded most useful to me. There were SO many different options for every interest!
Thursday lasted from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. In the morning, everyone checked in and ate breakfast together. Then, we went into Lab Sciences (where people take the scary class known as “General Chemistry I”) and listened to two amazing speakers, one alum speaker and one dean, speak about their journey and give advice on planning for our future. I managed to sneak in a few pictures of their presentation.
Afterwards, I chose to attend “Resumes, Cover Letters, and Your Online Presence: Get Noticed for the Right Reasons,” “Translating the Liberal Arts for the World of Work,” “Summer 2016 Internship Search: Getting Started Early,” Interviewing for Internships or Jobs,” and “Prep for Tomorrow: Employer Mock Interview Clinic.”
Here are a few descriptions:
Translating the Liberal Arts for the World of Work: Employers know two things they wish students knew. One: the liberal arts (humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences) foster the kind of creativity and critical thinking they’re looking for in their employees. And two: it’s not what you study, but what you say about what you study that sets you apart. When you put the two things together, it becomes clear that the most successful applicants are ones who can describe clearly and precisely how they have developed essential career skills and knowledge through liberal arts coursework. Whether you’re an Arts & Sciences student, or a student from another School who has taken liberal arts coursework, you’re invited to attend this session and learn how to translate the liberal arts experience in your resumes, cover letters, and interviews for internships and jobs.
Matthew DeVoll, Assistant Dean, College of Arts & Sciences Rachel Folkerts, WU class of 2012
Summer 2015 Internship Search: Getting Started Early: The summer before senior year is a critical time to gain experience that will help you make decisions about your post-graduation plans. Learn how to start thinking strategically and using important tools (i.e. U-CAN, CAREERlink) so you can land a valuable experience for next summer.
Phoebe Richards, Career Development Coordinator
Interviewing for Internships or Jobs: Professional interviews can be nerve-wracking! No worries. In this session we’ll discuss the types of questions to expect and how to frame your experiences.
Jen Meyer, Assistant Director, Career Development – Art
Prep for Tomorrow: Employer Mock Interview Clinic: Recommended for those with scheduled employer mock interviews on Friday
Your first professional interview can be nerve-wracking. No worries! In this session we’ll go over what to expect tomorrow, how to prepare and practice some typical interview questions.
Andy Harber, Career Consultant
I’ve learned stuff from how to make my LinkIn profile stand out, how to write a good resume and cover letter, what to do with my degree, and how to find an internship this coming summer. Furthermore, all of the speakers were so passionate about their presentations. One of them even made paddles saying, “YES” and “NO” for all of his students to use when answering questions!
Overall, I was so happy that I attended Career Camp and learned that there is nothing wrong with being indecisive. In fact, it is normal to be indecisive.
This is why it is better to start planning early than to not plan at all, despite how much I want to avoid thinking about the future.
~ Nancy <3