Lauren Weldon | Thursday, September 7, 2017
It’s that time of year again. Football is back, the library is starting to feel crowded and students all around are starting to break out their business professional attire. That’s right: it’s hiring season. Whether you’re a senior trying to figure out what the heck to do with your future, a junior trying to score that sweet summer internship or an ambitious freshman or sophomore trying to defy the odds and get a job beyond working at a summer camp or coffee shop, I think most of us can agree that job hunting is a full time job … on top of everything else we have to do.
There is a certain spirit of stress in the air that comes when we break out the ties and pencil skirts. Many planners and email inboxes have become packed with various networking events, workshops, resume reviews and of course the daunting Career Fair. But here’s the thing, you need to give yourself permission to take a breath. It will be okay. There are many destinations, and many paths to get there.
This time of year makes me uncomfortably nostalgic of the moment I sent out my 50th application last fall as a sophomore. I had tweaked my resume, polished my portfolio, practiced interviewing, tried to do everything right … and I only got one yes. That’s right, 49/50 were no response or just a no. So what was different about that one yes? What was the magic trick that worked? How did I land this dream design internship? I learned a ton this last summer but one thing that stuck out was that every individual on my design team and adjacent teams had arrived at the same destination with wildly different life journeys. None of us had a clearly paved path that said, “do X, Y and Z and it’ll work out splendidly.” My incredible colleagues had come from vastly different backgrounds and educations. If there was any commonality, it was that we had all faced struggles and we had all had to reevaluate and continually discern the direction of our futures.
So take this from the overambitious former sophomore who didn’t get her internship through any of the traditional Notre Dame career resources or channels, who was awkward at networking and who really hates heels: It’s going to be okay. Keep your mind open to the unexpected, and don’t be afraid of taking a road less traveled. This is just one moment in your life among many where you will have to ask yourself the same question you were asked as a kid: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You have decades to figure that out, and, if you’re like me, you’re not quite sure what being a grownup means, so just take a breath.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.