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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Great Job Search, or "Yeah, I can do that."

This past preview weekend, there were a few prospective students and parents who expressed earnest fear in finding a job if one were to graduate from Prescott College. In today’s economy, this is a well deserved fear that many live with day-in and day-out. Families across the United States are having severe problems paying bills, putting food on the table, and keeping themselves from being evicted from their homes. This does not even take into account what the rest of the world is going through. Overall, the question of employment after graduation is a very logical question, and one in which I am, personally, not worried about.
How Prescott College distinguishes itself from most other schools is the preparation for future endeavors. Essentially, many schools teach how to memorize quantities of information to be used for completing tests. Every two weeks the brain is filled and purged when a test is taken, and new information must be memorized for yet another test. Where does this leave a graduating senior in terms of useful skills for employment? I would contend that this is not what employers are looking for when making hiring decisions.
Here is a list of basic job qualifications from various employers:
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Organized and detail-oriented.
  • Able to handle multiple projects simultaneously and meet frequent deadlines.
  • Ability to work with a diverse range of people.
  • Ability to work autonomously and as a member of a team.
  • Internally motivated to succeed and goes the extra mile
  • Proven leadership experience.

During my time here at Prescott College, I am doing these “qualifications” constantly. Because we do not memorize information for tests, we are always writing and giving presentations to show our understanding. In essence, the expectations here are to actually know what we are talking about. This is deepened by consistently working independently and in teams to complete projects, learning to be collaborative in times of need, and the necessity to be organized around matters of time, resources, and self-care.  It is true that this program is quite challenging; and, the college is also invested in making sure these skills are acquired over a student’s time here.
Most graduates from this school are not moving back in with their parents, going homeless, or taking a job to just have one. I know people who are currently working for the forest service, are professional writers, artists, mountaineering guides, psychologists, teachers, graduate students, and anything else under the sun. Personally, I will be graduating in May with a full resume. I have no fear of the job market, and my father does not work for Goldman Sachs. In fact, I am $40,000 in debt from student loans, have no car, and an endless amount of possibilities in front of me. There is no telling where I will go, who I will meet, and what I will be doing; and, this is incredibly exciting.
In summary, when I began my college search I figured the name of my school would get me that dream job. Now that I have reevaluated my “dream job,” I know that because of Prescott College, a small school in northern Arizona, I am ready to meet the unknown with respect, gratitude, and the knowledge that I am more prepared than I could have been from any other school in the world.   
It’s not what we do; it’s why we do it. Our what only gives proof to why we believe in anything.

So enjoy the journey, and ask yourself “why?”

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