Are you a senior who is looking for work? Then this is for you! Do you feel frustrated and overwhelmed with your job search? Are you not quite sure where to start or which direction to go? Does it feel like you are spending so much time yet getting nowhere? These are all normal feelings for those looking for work but if this is your first time seeking fulltime employment you may not know this. THERE IS HOPE, pun intended! There is a team of folks on campus who have years of experience doing just this-helping students and alumni process, plan and look for work. We are the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. On April 7th from 5-6pm we are hosting a session for seniors. I will give you more details in a minute but first I want to tell you a story.

Long ago, in the ancient land of 1989 there was a soon to be Hope College graduate named Amy. She was a good student, had studied abroad, completed the Philadelphia Semester Program, had a Psychology/Sociology Composite major with an English minor, and a strong work ethic. It was March, two months until graduation, and she was ready to leave college and start adulting. BUT she had no idea how to do that!

She had a resume, compliments of the Philly Semester, so signed up for a couple of on-campus interviews. Nothing happened. She continued to search newspapers, remember, it’s 1989 so we still did that, and applied for a few random things. And got discouraged. She needed a plan. What were her goals? She knew she didn’t want to return home to the small south-central Michigan town she was from so what did she need to do to be independent?

First, she needed money and a place to live. Amy had a waitressing job so was able to add hours and start to cook to make more money. Second, she and a friend found an affordable brand-new apartment. They didn’t have much furniture and Amy didn’t have a bed, but it was a safe roof over her head. After two weeks of sleeping on the floor her dad drove to Holland and co-signed for her first credit card so she could purchase a bed. Success!

While she liked her waitressing job, she really did need to put her college education to the test and get a “big girl” job. Maybe her resume needed some tweaking. She paid $60, a lot of money back then, and had someone help her strengthen her resume and cover letter. She knew she wanted to help people so started randomly applying to non-profit faith-based organizations, finally managing to secure part-time work that included healthcare benefits three months after graduation. Success!

After 9 months of hard work and picking up a lot of extra shifts, she got promoted to a full-time salaried position. Success! She had also gained new friends through work and was able to move to Grand Rapids, where she was working, and live with a colleague. More success! Amy purchased her first car, joined a volunteer group and made more friends, and after a couple of years purchased her first home all by herself. Major success! The story goes on with changes in career paths, continued discernment of what that should look like, marriage, kids, graduate school, etc… Successes but not without some failures too. Believe it or not the failures, while hard, are often the most informative learning experiences; who knew! After graduate school she found herself called to return to Hope College where she works to help students find their life and career paths. The End… but not really.

I share this story as I am living proof you too will make this transition from college to career and the real world. It won’t be without bumps and it will be with successes and failures. Remember, success is defined differently for everyone so work on understanding what success means for you. The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career wants to help you navigate this process. We have our own stories and years and years of experience helping students continue the process of discerning next steps with regard to calling and career.

We invite you to attend a session on April 7 from 5-6pm in the Martha Miller Center Room 158 where you will hear about the process of job seeking and discerning and leave with import steps to take to be successful in this next chapter. Please use this Handshake link to sign up for this new event! We know you can be successful and want YOU to know we are here to help you step toward that success!

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