On this day, April 11, in 1861, General Beauregard of the newly created Confederate Army sent three aids inside Fort Sumter to demand that General Anderson surrender the fort. Anderson refused, and the Confederates began firing. The Civil War was started, on this day, 150 years ago. It is impossible to understand or appreciate something like what was the bloodiest war, up to then, in human history without a thorough understanding of the beginning. And while this transition may be a stretch, as I consider the beginning of a war from 150 years ago, I also look to the beginning and end of what is now my almost finished college career. Just as General Anderson kept the aides waiting for hours, stalling for time for help to arrive or for a good plan to be established, I find myself going through these days leading up to graduation trying to figure out my own plans. Just as Anderson knew that decisive action was necessary, so too do I know that plans must be made, and most importantly, a job must be found!
For some college graduates, finding a job is no problem. They go to career fairs, they interview, they receive several job offers, and then they decide on which one they want the most. This is how it is supposed to happen. This is how colleges and universities design the process. It does not work, however, for all graduates. Some people, myself included, are not sure what we want to do, and therefore are not sure what career fairs to go to, or with which companies to interview. I am working hard to find a job, but could it be that there is or needs to be some alternative job finding structure for those of us who cannot or will not use the traditional means, i.e. career fairs?
For me personally, the roadblock is too many options. I mean that I would be so happy doing so many different jobs, that I have a hard time knowing where to start. My only criteria for a job is that I get to help people and that it might help me decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. Minimal requirements, right? I have found a really wonderful website to help my search. It's a job search website, called Idealist, that focuses exclusively in the non-profit community.
This is a good start, and I am coming across some interesting options, but applying for jobs online is only so effective. What we need at Penn State are jobs fairs that are not catered to the business and engineering fields. Now, Penn State does have a few of these. I have been to the "People to People" job fair for three years in a row. It advertises that it is for community work and non-profits, but it is woefully unacceptable. The vast majority of the companies there are summer camps or restaurants. They are looking for part-time, minimal wage, summer jobs, and are catering primarily to undergraduates. There are thousands of non-profit companies in the state of Pennsylvania. What if there was a fair for them, for full-time, post-graduate positions? I think there are a significant number of graduation seniors who would benefit from such an event.
Penn State is known as the number one recruited school in the nation, and I know a lot of engineering and business majors, and I am very happy for them and their successful job searches. I also know that Penn State takes a lot of pride in those programs. Us Liberal Arts majors, however, deserve some attention also. Just as, I will make an educated guess and presume, General Anderson was looking for support from Washington and was becoming more and more anxious, maybe even stressed out, as the time passed and no helped arrived; I too look around and work for a solution to the job hunt, with increasing stress as each week passes. I hope, and I am confident, however, that my current situation will be resolved a bit more successfully than General Anderson's.