Career Fair is my version of Christmas, or perhaps a second Bar Mitzvah: a large number of people you don’t know trying to give you free things you’ll never need. Every year, I’ve gone from software engineering table to management consulting booth acquiring pens, bottle openers, usb chargers, and even umbrellas branded with a smorgasbord of logos of companies I will never even consider working for. And then I stop by a few employers for whom I actually might have some interest: writing jobs (I like to write), think tanks (I’m a public policy major), and environmentalist causes (I heart the Earth), very few of whom have schwag to dole out.
This year, though, was a little different–now, I’m a senior, and I’m supposed to actually be looking for jobs. Instead of: Hi, are you a graduating senior? No, but can I have a free pen?, my conversations went more along the lines of: Hi, are you a graduating senior? Yes! Are you interested in any of the following things [insert CS/EE/SymSys, etc here]? No, but can I have a free pen?
A few thoughts from wandering around the fair:
–Being dressed in a t-shirt and shorts made it much easier to tell what kind of companies I had no interest in from a much further distance, even without my glasses.
–There was a pasta company at the fair. I tried to be their spokesperson, but they did not have any openings in that position.
–Some companies give out really interesting stuff:
ims: Ping pong balls. I have no idea what you are, ims, but I appreciate it.
Gap: A metal water bottle. I apologize for trying to ask you about Levi Strauss, which, upon some reflection, is in fact one of your biggest competitors–I got excited because my friend works there, and I felt the jean-to-jean connection.
Accenture: A bag of highlighters. Not just one highlighter, but 8 of them–just a few shy of Tiger Woods’ mistress count.
Facebook: magnetic poetry, mainly comprised of Internet memes. I am very excited to use the LOLcatz, nom nom nom, and OMGWTFBBQ pieces in succession.
Hudson River Trading: usb+bottle opener. For drinking alone on your computer?
–Career Fair is like activities fair, but way less fun. Nobody was giving out any freeze pops or blaring music as far as I could tell. It’s also extraordinarily exhausting, even if you’re not putting on a fake persona to impress would-be employers.
–It’s a very strange and highly terrifying feeling for a senior like myself to realize that college is almost over. A year from now, we will either be sketchy grad students, unemployed, or back at career fair–likely wearing something slightly nicer than a t-shirt and shorts.