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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Ready For Business

The first time someone asked me, “what’s your career?” I froze for a moment and went down the list of possibilities: college student, beer drinker, part-time Biology and Math class attendant, semi-professional beer pong player, daydreamer, former Mass Media cover model, baseball fan, mountain biker, thrice-daily Sportscenter viewer, card-carrying member of the Salma Hayek fan club, once and future king of Scattergories, and horse-shoe aficionado. Instead of mentioning any of these, I stuck with “undecided,” which felt like a cop-out but really wasn’t that far from the truth.

The word “career” reminds me of that never-ending fifth grade question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Ridiculous question, first off, because fifth graders only know about five different career possibilities, (astronaut, professional athlete, policeman, doctor, Ronald McDonald). The magnitude of the word “career” fits right alongside “profession” and “occupation,” and can frankly scare the crap out of me. Ten years down the road is about nine and a half years farther than I have planned right now, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person in that boat.

The end of another semester means one more year of college is in the record books. This is great news for all those freshmen and sophomores completing their introductory nightmares, but what about the rest? Someone wise once told me, “College is like Happy Hour; get the most out of it, but don’t forget that it’s got to end sometime.” Sooner or later that word “career” should start flashing in neon lights with a big diploma in the middle.

This is where college comes in. The Career Services Department, located in the Campus Center, is a comprehensive gathering place equipped to lead students and faculty down the right path and help them organize their goals. A number of programs are offered through Career Services like career planning, job interview tips, and a career fair held every year with around 90 companies from all areas of Boston attending. A resource library with graduate school information and job bulletins is available as well.

The majority of job opportunities at UMass go through MonsterTrak, an affiliate of the online job-hunt giant Monster.com. MonsterTrak is the leading website for college students looking for jobs and provides students with links towards full-time and part-time work during and after college as well as internships.

The importance of internships can often times be overlooked, but after that final semester in college, graduates will sure wish they had the least bit idea what the “real world” looks like. Internships are generally part-time apprenticeships for students in the field they wish to move towards. Common internship locations are schools, hospitals, government agencies, and laboratories. The short-term experience of an internship is aimed at building an understanding of a profession without having to officially jump right in. They can also build up resumes or create a network with other people in similar lines of work. In other words, it’s the minor leagues of whatever career you’re hoping to get into someday.

The advantage of experience and know-how is important for prospective graduates, but the key to success can sometimes be in a resume. A well-rounded resume will hold up against any one-sided Honor Roll diploma. An internship or two, for example, can provide a very notable mark for developing that resume into something a little heavier.

The possible advice or informative wherewithal that is at the hands of students is remarkably endless nowadays. Anyone with the internet, or a library card even, can get on the web and look up job listings in South America, or find a book on Graduate Colleges for Business Majors, in San Diego. The current generation of college students has advantages and opportunities that previous generations only dreamt about. For the most part, almost all of these opportunities are free and available for anyone interested. But more importantly they’re available.

Technology can be a great middleman for career seekers because it’s readily available and generally user friendly. The drawback, however, is that looking for the right piece of advice can be like that old needle in the haystack problem. The number of websites with ‘career advice’ is pretty much somewhere near infinity. This is when the old fashioned technique of talking to someone in person can be the best way to getting started on the road to success, and Career Services provides that road map.

The advice was right, college is like Happy Hour, and no one wants to be that guy or girl who stays way past Happy Hour and then comes back the next night, and then the next night, and the next night…and the next night…(ten years later)…and the next night…