Last week, the Career Planning Center (CPC) and Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) announced a new initiative called “Just the Facts,” an attempt by both groups to better inform students of the career resources and opportunities available to them on campus, while also demystifying and debunking common misconceptions about the role of the CPC and its priorities.
The informational campaign primarily consists of posters around campus with facts and figures about the range of the CPC’s offerings, including grants for unpaid internships and advising for careers in a variety of fields. “Just the Facts” is a result of previous conversations between BSG and Career Planning.
Both groups believed that Career Planning has an abundance of opportunities for students, but that students were not effectively utilizing these resources. “As with any institution at Bowdoin, we believed that we could always improve how [Career Planning] interacts with Bowdoin students,” said BSG President Irfan Alam ’18. “We think that there are certain myths that students believe about Career Planning. We feel like by informing students and making them more aware about the difference they could have after they leave Bowdoin, that could make them more willing to engage with some of those resources and utilize them before we leave.”
Director of Career Planning Tim Diehl believes that many students often overlook the CPC due to a lack of knowledge about the Center and its role on campus. Therefore, one of the key goals of the campaign is to inform students and hopefully make them more likely to utilize the resources available. “It seemed very logical and appropriate that we team up [with BSG] and spread the word about the full portfolio of access that Bowdoin provides,” said Diehl.
“Dispelling myths is a key part of that. And we know that if students believe a thing to be true, but it’s not true, it can prevent students from engaging with something that could be very helpful for them.”
In the past, students have expressed a variety of opinions of the CPC. Some have criticized an apparent push toward finance and consulting, while others have refuted that claim. According to the spring 2017 Orient Approval Ratings Survey, around 40 percent of students who responded to the survey disapproved of the CPC.
One current sophomore, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she has had mixed experiences with the CPC. “I’ve only met with one person in Career Planning, and he was helpful in the beginning because I was first year, not knowing what to do at all, but then after you figure out the basic steps, I feel like they’re not really very helpful,” she said.
For Diehl, it is incredibly important to show that the CPC doesn’t just prioritize lucrative fields like finance and consulting. Rather the Center also has a variety of resources for those who seek to explore a wide range of fields. “I would say this campaign is meant to address that myth … No one in this office has a set destination in mind for any one student. So it’s really about us enabling students to pursue their own interests, or discover what their interests may be,” he said.
“Our goal is really that, if students articulate an interest, we want to shine a light on the people that are working in that field, who are often recent graduates.”
BSG and Career Planning are optimistic about the campaign and stress the importance of utilizing all the resources the campus has to offer. “I encourage all students to continue to seek out resources that Bowdoin offers. That’s one of the best things about coming to Bowdoin, is that they offer us so many resources that go unused a lot of the time, and so just utilize them. Use them for your benefit, so you can pursue a fulfilling life after Bowdoin the way you want to do it,” said Alam.