A Student's Perspective: Searching for My Place

by Ariel Carr '99

My heart beats faster every time I think about it. The butterflies that live in my stomach begin fluttering their wings, and I feel the first pangs of an anxiety attack rush over me. But then my mind begins to calm the emotional tidal wave that is slowly approaching. There is no reason to freak out-thousands of graduating seniors all over the country experience this same phenomenon year after year and, for the most part, survive the ordeal. Finding a job is not the end of the world. Although at times it seems an impossible task, the search for employment is an inevitable reality. Over the past few months I have lived this reality, and now I am waiting to experience the fruits of my labor.

Ariel Carr It started off simply enough: write a resume and schedule an appointment with career services. Little did I know that one conversation with a career counselor would encompass so much. My once clean, generously-spaced, two-page resume was covered in a layer of red ink. Entire portions of my employment history were wiped out, forever forgotten.

My mind was overloaded and dizzy with possibilities. I had entered that meeting assuming that my career search would center around publishing, but after a 20-minute conversation, I knew that my options were endless. Public relations, journalism, education, alumni relations, editing, publishing, teaching, academic counseling-the list went on. This was the hard part. I had to seriously examine what type of career I wanted to pursue.

After much soul searching and consulting with friends and family, I decided to focus my search on public relations and education reform. I began the overwhelming task of contacting everyone and anyone who could help. I called and e-mailed former bosses, co-workers, friends, friends of friends, alumni-anyone willing to spare a few minutes. I then moved on to Round Two; writing and calling the new names provided by my first circle of contacts. The process continues. It's like a slow spreading disease, my resume passing from person to person, picking up new names, more people to contact, more brains to pick.

In addition to my outreach efforts, I explore the Internet and major newspapers almost daily, regularly visiting a dozen job sites and just as many individual websites; all the while searching for my perfect job.

I reward every new possibility with a "customized" cover letter and resume. To date I have blindly applied for over 30 positions at various institutions. Almost all of them have responded with that standard card or letter thanking me for my interest and promising that I'll be "contacted in several weeks if an interview is needed." Thus far my dozens of phone calls and e-mails have resulted in maybe three decent leads, and of those, one potential job offer.

The process is not an easy one. It is time consuming and often frustrating. I am both envious of and encouraged by my peers who have survived the anxiety and emerged winners. Somewhere in the abyss of my mind I know that my time will come, but for now it's a waiting game. My search continues, but I am always listening for the phone to ring-hoping for an interview, or better yet, an offer that may lead me to that final goal; a job.

Ariel Carr is an English major from Maine. The daughter of Douglas Carr '68 and Deidre Schupack Carr '69, she is the photo editor of Hi-O-Hi yearbook and a member of the senior class council.