February 20 and 21 mark the 8th annual Life After Scripps conference, orchestrated by the Career Planning and Resources office. This year's theme, "Reach Out, Speak Up," aims at energizing and empowering students with the knowledge and know-how to face the next step in their career paths. From tips about the real world and navigating the job market to establishing contacts with alumnae, there will be a number of resources available to students during the program.
With many soon-to-be graduates nervously skimming through daily news articles about the less-than-ideal state of our economy, CP&R has brought on Serena Santillanes of Career Journeys, Inc. to deliver the weekend's keynote address, "Recession-Proof Your Mindset," which will, according to CP&R Career Counselor Valinda Lee, "focus on job search strategies during a recession."
Lee added, "Networking is now, more than ever, an essential part of a job search, and we're happy to be bringing back over 20 alumnae to campus to speak with students about their fields. The networking lunch on Saturday...is an excellent opportunity for students to interact with alumnae in a casual setting."
In addition to the networking session, the Saturday afternoon breakout session for the junior/senior track, entitled "Take Charge of Your Money (and Your Life)," will focus on personal finance, a useful post-graduation topic regardless of the state of stocks. The first-year/sophomore breakout session will focus on internships and the role they played in the career paths of several alumnae.
"We hope that students reach out to the alumnae who come to campus, ask them questions and follow up with us to continue through their individual journeys," said Lee.
When asked about their reasons for participating in the conference, a number of alumnae were eager to share their motivation to get involved.
Kate Lindsay (‘06), a self-designed Commercial Communication & Design major, was inspired to get involved after attending a Scripps alumnae event and meeting a prospective student. "It was clear to me that there remained a disconnect at Scripps between a liberal arts education and advertising/marketing/graphic design careers. I wanted to be sure students knew that their education would help them follow any dream, no matter how ‘commercial.'" Lindsay, who currently works as a Brand Solution Manager for the Branded Entertainment & Experiences Team (BEET) at Microsoft, will be serving on Friday evening's "What I Wish I Had Known" panel.
Rachael Warecki (‘08), an English and Spanish dual major, will also be serving on the panel. A 2008 Teach For America corps member for the Los Angeles area, Warecki is also looking to share her experiences with Teach for America with prospective applicants.
"I know a large percentage of Scripps seniors apply to Teach For America. TFA recruiters don't really give an accurate picture of what TFA is like; I didn't fully realize what I was getting myself into until I arrived at institute in June."
Warecki hopes to paint a clearer picture for students who are interested in the program.
"I want to give applicants and potential applicants a balanced look at my own Teach For America experience, because honestly, these are the things I most definitely wish I would have known."
After having a wonderful experience at Life After Scripps in 2008 ("I wouldn't have thought to visit prospective neighborhoods both in the daytime and at night if it hadn't been for Alison Omens' advice at the 2008 conference. After all, an area that looks safe in the daytime might seem a lot less safe at night!") Warecki was excited to get involved this year.
"I hope that relating my own post-Scripps experiences to current students will help those students' transitions to the real world happen more smoothly."
Erin Fry (‘05), a self-designed bioethics major, also attended the Life After Scripps conference during her time at Scripps. "To have the perspective of alums was so valuable," she said. Their real world perspective on matters such as personal finances and apartment hunting were helpful to both Fry and Warecki.
Fry, who will be giving a talk on networking on Saturday entitled "Make Connections that Count," currently lives in Washington D.C., where she works for a governmental affairs firm lobbying on Capitol Hill for public health initiatives. She sees the value of a liberal arts education as truly developing well-roundedness in Scripps graduates, whom she describes as well-spoken and prepared to take on a number of things in their lives after Scripps.
"It's a great way to feel like I'm giving back" she said of her involvement in the conference.
For more information about Life After Scripps Week, which continues beyond the weekend with a number of workshops and info sessions, visit the CP&R website http://www.scrippscollege.edu/students/career/index.php, or drop by the office in Seal Court.