With the Class of 2024 entering their senior year at Bowdoin, Career Exploration and Development (CXD) has begun to offer a new workshop series to help seniors discover possible career paths. Titled “Senior Week,” the program was filled with various industry-specific events and other career exploratory events including a networking workshop.
Although a new event, the programming builds on an older CXD event for seniors. Director of Career Advising Nancy Gibson recalled that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, programming had to be reimagined.
“Originally, we used to have a mandatory meeting for all the seniors on the Sunday before classes started, which was not a very popular time,” Gibson said. “We would kind of go over a lot of things about career development and what our office offered. Afterwards, we would have breakout meetings because we advise by sector.”
The office began sending out emails in early August to gauge what support seniors needed the most. However, Senior Week aims to help students learn more about a wide range of sectors, while also introducing general meetings to promote alternative career paths.
“There’s some students that have never been in our office before and some students that have been coming for all four years. We try to set them up and be successful in whatever they choose to do, but with the hope that they can utilize our resources,” Gibson said.
The sessions are held by CXD advisors who specialize in industry sectors. With separate recruiting timelines and industry-specific information, Gibson points out that CXD advisors can help with more nuanced questions students have when acquiring a job offer.
“It’s a lot of us letting them know about the range of our services, because it’s not just ‘Oh, I’ll help you with your resume, cover letter or tell you about a job,’ but if a student has a question about ‘Can I do a mock interview?’ ‘I got an offer, but I’m also wanting to interview for other jobs.’ What do I tell the person that gave me the offer, or ‘I got an offer but I don’t understand what these benefits need are. Can I negotiate any of this?’ You know, we can help with all of that.”
Although the Class of 2024 did have Sophomore Bootcamp programming, it was semi-virtual due to Covid. Despite this, Gibson is proud that many students have already taken advantage of CXD offerings to aid their career search.
“We don’t bring in alumni yet because we’re not assuming that students that might come to [specific events] are going to pursue that,” Gibson said. “Even though this senior class all went through [Sophomore] Bootcamp, their bootcamp was virtual. Some of them might not have made it to all the sessions. So [we are] just refreshing them about what the events are.”
Cambron Wade ’24 expressed that she has felt supported by CXD throughout her time at Bowdoin, and her experience at Sophomore Bootcamp was no exception.
“Although my freshman year during Covid was a bit strange, once I actually got to campus, I immediately knew where the CXD was, where I could go and who I could get help from. I went to peer advisors a lot. I had meetings with the advisor that I’m working with, and I’ve always just felt like they were always there to help me in any way that I needed it and also in ways that I didn’t,” Wade said.
Gibson hopes that Senior Week and similar programming can help students feel less stressed out about their own career search.
“We want to ease people into this and realize that there’s no one size fits all approach. If they have friends who might already be interviewing right now, that doesn’t mean that employers in every sector are interviewing. Each sector has its own cycle,” Gibson said.
Wade saw CXD Senior Week as another resource to utilize and as a chance to absorb the necessary information she needs for her career path. She attended both the careers in tech and the government, law, policy sessions.
“I really appreciated that the CXD had a series of events that were explicitly tailored for seniors as we embark on our last year at Bowdoin. So I think what I was really trying to get out of it was just making sure that I had all the information that I possibly could, so I’m best prepared for the year ahead,” Wade said.
CXD has already started a variety of programming to reach all class years this fall. This Friday marks the conclusion of Senior Week, and on the following Monday, there will be a Funded Internship Poster Exhibition to highlight the range of summer activities that students took part in this summer with CXD grant funding.
Catalina Escobedo contributed to this report.