Material appearing in editorials reflects the majority opinion of The Brown and White editorial board.
“To whom it may concern” and “I look forward to hearing back from you” echo throughout campus as students begin to navigate the job and internship search.
The season has brought a storm of cover letters and resumes to campus. And while some students have jobs lined up, others still question which path is correct for them. Such contrast can bring self-doubt and an underlying tension to the community.
Whether the job search is fulfilling or draining varies from student to student, but it is important for all students to remember that a first job is not the final destination.
For many students, this is the first step in their path that has not been contrived by the standards of others. Prior to the job search, many students experienced similar expectations for success. Go to grade school, get good grades, go to college and the rest will follow.
But as students are met with a mountain of opportunity in the career world, it can seem more comfortable to seek a path that has been deemed safe.
With 95% of the class of 2018 graduates either employed or attending grad school within six months after graduation, Lehigh showcases job placement with pride. And while Lehigh provides the resources needed to find post-grad success, it is just as important to understand that a first job does not define the future success of every student.
Whether students are still seeking work, losing sleep over cover letters or re-thinking their major come senior year, there’s good news for the members of the Lehigh community who feel overwhelmed or without a clear plan. If they were all on the same path, not only would the path be crowded, but it would be boring.
According to a study by The Washington Post, only 27% of college graduates find a job related to their major. Depending on location, the job market and personal career goals, it is not uncommon to feel as though the opportunities are endless, but the options are scarce.
As the Center for Career and Professional Development floods with students as they stress over whether or not their cover letters fit the needs of a given company, one thing stays the same. The job and internship search should be an exciting step.
As Lehigh students, we find common ground in our shared experiences on campus. But as we pursue our careers, our diverse academic experiences and studies should be celebrated as we pursue equally diverse paths.
As an interdisciplinary student body, it would be a disservice to all move in the same direction upon graduation. Classes are made up of students from all three colleges and a range of majors and interdisciplinary programs, not to mention a diverse mix of interests and undergraduate experiences. Many students will carve out their own career paths without knowing what to expect.
Students have resources like the Center for Career & Professional Development and advisors to help guide them as they begin the sometimes grueling and discouraging journey filled with rejections and “We’ll get back to you.”
But throughout the process, the good news stays the same — A first job or internship is not a trapdoor. Instead, it is an open door that will one day become a part of each alumnus’ success story.
And while some first steps will lead students to start from scratch, each student should move forward with the confidence that he/she has something unique to offer the world that he/she may not find without some closed doors and rocky paths along the way.