, Salem, MA


May 21, 2013

Column: From Silicon Valley, advice for graduates

For many college seniors these days, the thought of approaching graduation is burdened by fear of unemployment and lack of direction. This isn’t helped by the fact that almost every day someone asks what we’re doing next. As a graduating senior at a liberal arts college near Boston, my answer has been relatively vague so far. Panic and apathy jostle for the upper hand. But I want to avoid pessimism and denial — because the reality is that college ends, and something, no matter what, comes after it.

So for spring break I escaped New England’s stormy weather and flew across the country to sunny California. But I didn’t dig out my bathing suit and head to the beach. Instead, I packed a skirt and prepared myself for two days of interviews in Silicon Valley. I wasn’t going for job interviews. I was going to interview professionals — to find a clue to the future.

I asked five people for their advice to graduates. It turned out that one piece of advice I received I was already following: Don’t ask for jobs, ask to interview people.

Informational interviews can help expand a graduate’s network and give them insight into various careers. But people also told me it’s a myth that I ought to know what I’m going to do by the time I graduate. I won’t know what I’m supposed to do until I’m about 35, they said. And it’s also a myth that my major will determine my career path.

Whew! That was a relief to hear, since I’m a philosophy and political science double major. Sometimes I worry that I should have majored in something like business or journalism. What do you do with a philosophy major? But I’m not as worried now. There are far more options than there are majors.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror'
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate