It's the time of year when seniors are looking for post-grad employment and underclassmen are searching for summer jobs—and things look bleak. Students of the past may have relied on Bowdoin's name to land their dream job, but these days we're being rejected or having difficulty just finding enticing job openings. Many of us feel discouraged, disillusioned, or even desperate. It became apparent early last semester that getting a job in the finance world would be unlikely, but even students hoping to go into the public sector or the arts have grim prospects.
We're being told from all sides to be more creative and resourceful in our job searches. While it may be necessary to follow such advice to find employment, we should be cautious that we don't compromise our integrity in doing so. Some jobs may seem appealing simply because they have a straightforward application process. Although the numbers have not been released yet, it is apparent that Teach for America has been extremely successful in recruiting Bowdoin applicants this year. Even students who have little interest in teaching have applied to the program because they were courted and convinced that they should keep their options open. We should be wary of stepping into fields that we may not be prepared to enter.
Although seniors may be worried about generating an income, underclassmen might be more focused on gaining experience. Because most employers are strapped for cash, they may have more of an incentive to persuade you to take an unpaid internship. In some cases, they may even require that you pay a fee for one. While only some students have the resources to spend their summer this way, those who do should be prudent in making their decision. It is possible to find an employer who values our hard work enough to compensate us. We may just have to look in unexpected places.
Just because we're on our way to obtaining college degrees does not mean we must only take work that requires one. Being outside, doing physical labor, or working with people from different backgrounds than our own can be just as valuable as a prestigious internship. By choosing to pursue a liberal arts education, we've shown our willingness to engage in a variety of academic experiences. We should be no less willing to engage in a variety of work experiences.
No matter what financial obstacles we face in the future, we should remember that we already have something extremely valuable—our Bowdoin education. Many of us will still be paying for it years from now, but we'll never have to mortgage it. Whether or not our Bowdoin diploma opens up doors to the working world for us right away, we can look to it enrich our lives in the face of hardship.The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which comprises Nick Day, Nat Herz, Will Jacob, Mary Helen Miller, and Cati Mitchell.