As I watched my parents drive away on move-in day, waving my arm like some picture on a greeting card, I knew things were changing. I realized this was now my home; it was up to me to immerse myself as much or as little in the BC culture as I wanted to. One of the poignant changes that emerged that day was my future in the real world looming in the distance. Now, with each day, semester, and sporting event I attend it lurks closer no matter how hard I push it away.
Arguably, my life as a student has been leading up to the decisions I will be making in the coming years. And yes, that is exactly as intimidating as it sounds. The imminent change that was once sneaking up is now speeding into the present, becoming a reality that must be faced. This feeling of uncertainty is equally spread across a campus of diverse majors and schools, each person dealing with his or her own individual struggles. As a student in MCAS, the school holding the majority of students here at BC, I feel that career focused activities around campus focus a disproportionate amount of attention on the more specialized schools of CSON, Lynch, and CSOM. However, with programs like Endeavor, the future for MCAS students is looking brighter than ever.
Captained by new leadership, the Career Center premiered the Endeavor program to MCAS sophomores just before students returned for the spring semester. Its goals were centered on those similar to the Career Center as a whole. In essence the program aimed to “enable students to take ownership of their career decisions and lead meaningful professional lives” as the Center’s mission states. It offered students the opportunity not only to listen but to get their hands dirty by exploring, reflecting, and learning.
As a place where students are encouraged to gaze through the looking glass into the possibilities of the future it only seems natural that this opportunity should be equal amongst students of all schools. Endeavor aims to do just that. MCAS sophomore Sarah Zhukovin, one of the guinea pigs in the Career Centers latest experiment, has dubbed the experience a successful one.
“It was a positive and helpful experience because the atmosphere of the retreat allowed me to align my priorities and set me up to be a professional in the working world,” Zhukovin remarked.
Through activities such as skill assessments, panels of professionals in a variety of careers, and an excursion into the professional world of Boston, she concluded that the experiences overall made her confidence for her future in her field of interest increase a great deal. A visit to the Children’s Hospital in Boston where her group met with panelists who worked in the hospital, for example, opened her eyes to the path these professionals took to get where they are today.
Perhaps students focus too much on the goal of success and ignore the journey it takes to get there. This journey can be as grueling as riding on the pre-med track and as disheartening as receiving a grade disproportionate to the effort put forth. Endeavor shines a light on the end of the journey for MCAS students without glossing over that important journey. The path is treacherous, but the reward is well worth the battle wounds gained while getting there.
The experience also tackled the common misconception that grad school is expected for many MCAS students. It’s true that paths on the career track aren’t as clearly defined as those in some of the more specialized schools such as CSON. Perhaps this more direct path does make it more practical to focus a bulk of the career oriented programs on campus to students like CSOMers who are more likely to enter the work force directly than the average psych major.
“[Endeavor] was very helpful in figuring out that there are many jobs you don’t need to go to grad school for,” stated Zhukovin, iterating the fact that grad school isn’t necessary for every MCAS kid. Exploring the options available in each of the fields the school boasts—from economics to classics—is difficult, and no doubt requires effort, but it will be worth the effort. Grad school is an option many students from every school will take, but just as many will find a path that doesn’t require it. One needs only look closer to discover the trail to follow.
As students, we owe it to our future selves to put time and effort into examining all that the real world has to offer us. With programs like Endeavor being launched, this process is becoming a little less taxing for the average MCAS student. Accepting help isn’t always easy, especially for the average college perfectionist, but it is one we will thank ourselves for later.
When asked if she would recommend Endeavor to next year’s sophomores, Zhukovin was quick and definitive in her response. “Yes,” she announced, “if you can do it, you should do it.”
Information about this year’s event (occurring from January 14 and 15) can be found here: http://www.bc.edu/offices/careers/services/careerevents/endeavor--the-liberal-arts-advantage-for-sophomores.html