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Don’t Panic

Jim McGuire | Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I’m dedicating this column to all the seniors who don’t quite have their schedules settled after May 17. For those who have jobs or graduate school already figured out, I am truly happy and excited for you. However, you don’t need any help, so I’ll see you at Fever on Thursday.

For the rest of you (the majority), things are starting to get a little crazy.

If you are like me, you have had some interviews, filled out dozens of maddeningly inefficient online applications, and felt generally demoralized a few times in the process.

With the recession still going strong and corporate layoffs affecting just about every major industry, it’s hard out there for a second semester senior who wants a chance to prove himself or herself.

It isn’t just Arts & Letters students having a hard time either. The big financial services outfits can’t afford to pay those big signing bonuses like they used to, and even some engineers have been left scratching their heads because of the slowdown. The Career Center does a great job, but they can’t fix the job market for you (though I am sure they would if they could).

At this point sitting in a corner and sobbing might seem like a sensible option, but it won’t make you feel any better or help you get that awesome first job you want. So what are seniors in limbo supposed to do?

First, don’t panic. There is still time to look and weigh options. Did you apply to grad school as a “backup” to finding a job? Well, graduate school is hardly a “back-up,” it’s a way to improve your skill set, get some more real-world experience, and continue hitting the bars every night during the week (come on, Master of Divinity students, don’t think I don’t know what happens at Fischer-Grace every night).

But, if you feel that you have gotten as much higher education as you will ever need, remember not to limit yourself and look at multiple openings where you can use your various skills. You shouldn’t necessarily take a really undesirable job just because it’s there but realize that if you are willing to put in some effort and really work the heck out of that job, you can and will move on to bigger and better things.

Also, remember that you go to Notre Dame and that still means something (although I can’t tell you exactly what that something is). Employers might not lay out the red carpet for you right away but just use that little extra something that got you in here and you’ll go far.

While my meandering thoughts might not help you get that job you want, just think about all the advantages you have had over the past four years and know that you have a whole campus that wants you to succeed, even if it is just so you can one day pay for a new, fancy building on campus with your name on it.