Skip to content

The REAL Reason To Read the Student Newspaper

I have had the pleasure of working with a variety of colleges/universities during my career in the career development profession.  With each new position I was challenged to learn a new campus culture often along with my immersion into a new region of the country.

Thrilled to have these exciting opportunities, I grew both personally and professionally.  I share this with you as I once again find myself learning about the rich history and traditions of the University of Virginia.  I am getting to know my 30+ talented new colleagues in a robust program that is launching a dynamic model of career and professional development that includes alumni mentors, career communities, innovative employer relations, and an internal professional outreach/marketing team that simply knocks it out of the park!
But what have I failed to mention?  With each new institution, getting to know the student experience/voice has been crucial to my success.  The Echols Scholars of the University of Virginia are my newest student population.  Reading regularly the campus student newspapers is entertaining, enlightening and provides the inside scoop on campus trends and challenges. The student voice expressed through editorials, lifestyle columns, sports, cultural debates, political campaigns and humor can be a relevant signal to us as we seek to provide the very best service to our unique student body.
This was the case for me this spring when Annie Mester, published on March 27, 2016 in The Cavalier Daily, her Top 10 Stages of Making Summer Plans.  Annie captured her ever-changing, intensive emotions as she struggled with what seemed the impossible — nailing a “worthwhile” summer plan.
Yes, it can be difficult to be a student.  Annie tells us about what it FEELS like.   So, read Annie’s column. Tuck it away when you need a reminder.  And take time to read the student newspaper on the campus where you work or recruit.
Not only will you be a better informed recruiter or career counselor, you might also find out about an AMAZING shoe sale that starts tomorrow or the TASTY DUMPLINGS served at the new Food Truck on campus!

Top 10 stages of making summer plans
by Annie Mester | Mar 27 2016 | 03/27/16 8:40pm

1. Confusion

It’s still March. As long as basketball is on, it is still the dead of winter. Plus, I’m cold enough to continue sporting my strict uniform of leggings and giant sweatshirts, so summer is truly nowhere on my horizon. I thought it was an unspoken rule that no one was allowed to apply to anything until after trees had more than 60 percent green leaves? I’m currently surrounded by pollen and nice white flowers, so everyone here is breaking some sort of code. Can I get hired for being true to myself and to institutional rules that I’m pretty sure I just made up?
2. Panic

Everyone else has an internship or a job or somewhere to go. Should I apply to be a consultant? What’s a consultant? Every single one of my friends is a consultant. What are they consulting? Are consultants allowed to use Google? What even qualifies one to be a consultant? I barely take my own advice, so why should I be paid to give it to other people? Last time I took my own advice, I asked someone I had never spoken with to my formal and was promptly rejected. Do you think it’s because he consulted a consultant and that consultant decided I wasn’t good enough?
3. Denial

Maybe I made this all up. I know everyone in the Commerce School has had summer internships lined up since the third grade, but there’s no way anyone else actually knows what they’re doing. It took roughly 600 years for anyone to figure out that the world wasn’t flat — so following this extremely scientific line of reasoning and adjusting for inflation and a shorter time period — there’s really no way anyone has a firm plan. It’s fine. Really, it’s fine. I’m fine.
4. Despair

No one will ever hire me. With marketable skills including — and definitely limited to — complaining, Instagramming food, convincing people there’s a hole in the railroad fence when there actually isn’t and falling down the stairs outside Coupe’s, prospects are bleak and I haven’t even gotten to page three of my CAVLink search yet. If I can’t get this summer internship, why do I think I’ll even be able to graduate college? Will I find a formal date? Will I make it to next Sunday?
5. Hope

Page three of this CAVLink search looks promising. Summer analyst role at small startup in big city looking to hire promising and flexible students from top universities for which application doesn’t require a cover letter? Sign me up! I can do this! Brother’s friend’s girlfriend’s step-father’s long-lost grandchild works at this company? They’ll be able to write me a glowing recommendation! The sun is out, Michigan State is still out of the NCAA Tournament, and I don’t think I’ve seen an all-black cat in a couple years? Things are looking up!
6. Panic

Again I think I saw a black cat last week. The four leaf clover someone drew on my hand on St. Patrick’s Day really looked a lot more like a three leaf clover, didn’t it? It’s been 23 minutes and 46 seconds since I submitted my last application and I haven’t heard anything yet. My mom just told me I need to call Grandma, which means she feels badly that I don’t have any summer plans yet, and I’m going to have to live with her for the rest of my life because I’m not going to be qualified for anything ever. I think Grandma owns a black cat.
7. Acceptance

It’s time to face the bitter truth. Many people I know have jobs and internships lined up already. But, many people don’t. I am not lesser for being one of them. In fact, some may consider me a stronger and more independent woman for not being tied down to anything and for positively thriving in the face of the very real prospect that I am on a fast track to nowhere. Alternatively, statistics. If I submit enough applications, someone is bound to respond to me. I’ll add “write a lot of cover letters” to my planner, next to the only class I do my reading for. That way, it’s real.
8. Determination

Just finished my reading for that one aforementioned class, so now it’s time to start on these cover letters. I will stand out by aligning myself exactly with the company’s core principles. First, a Google search of said principles. I can be flexible in the face of adversity while maintaining a client-first approach, but also never losing sight of the ability to relentlessly chase life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Once, I tied my shoe wrong and fixed it — that’ll show them that I really have my life together and know how to persevere through any problem, right?
9. Distress

I just submitted that application and I think that was the wrong anecdote to tell. Is one even allowed to tell anecdotes in cover letters? I wish cover letters served a more literal purpose — to cover up the fact that none of my work experience actually aligns with the position I am currently applying for/throwing myself at. I wish I had a time machine so I could fast-forward to the future and make sure I’m actually doing okay, because I could use a little reassurance right about now. Distress for me involves a lot of arm flailing and panicked pacing, so at least I’m finding time to work out in such an environment of stress.
10. Therapy, again

Physical therapy, because I can only flap my arms for so long in the aforementioned state of distress. Alternatively, physical therapy because I can only mistake the time of my interview and have to aggressively sprint-walk to Bryant — not Bryan — Hall to simultaneously avoid being late and avoid any form of sweat because the weather decided to be surprise warm for the first time in months. Chocolate therapy, to replenish and restore all nutrients from the full-body workout I just experienced. Last but not least, the all-important psychotherapy to process the whirlwind of emotions I’ve just been put through. Here’s to hoping that a therapist can answer why we must put in so much effort to find work for little-to-no pay during a time that is supposed to be our break.

Published March 27, 2016 in Life Column, Life

By: Beverly T. Lorig, Assistant Director for Career & Professional Development, Echols Scholars Program, The University of Virginia (UVA)
%d bloggers like this: