Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tufts University Musical 3: Senior Year

Welcome back to campus everyone! Summer has flown by once again, and I'm truly sad to see this one go. Between concerts and comedy shows, 4 AM wasp collections and 2 AM laughs with old friends, a trip to LA and a trip to NYC, and countless days of reading, sleeping, running, and beach-going, summer 2016 was one of the best of my life. With the bar set high, I'm planning on an unforgettable school year.

Me on Hollywood Boulevard, during a family vacation to Los Angeles in July. As you can see, I fit right in.
For some of us - myself included - it's our last time around the carousel, which feels surreal. It's hard to believe that this is my last year at Tufts, and in nine short months I'll be leaving the campus I've come to call home. At the same time, though, I'm craving new experiences in new places, and some days I can't wait until Commencement 2017.

These conflicting feelings, combined with a healthy dose of procrastinatory tendencies, are embodied by an acronym that I've come to embrace in the past few weeks: SWUG. If you ask the internet, 'SWUG' stands for 'Senior Washed-Up Girl' (or guy, or whatever noun you choose to identify with; if college has taught me anything, it is most certainly that gender is a social construct). Essentially, a SWUG is basically someone who's lost the motivation to be the typical high-achieving, high-energy college student that he or she was as an underlcassman; social outings lack the appeal they once held, and even the most basic homework seems impossible to complete. The days of being a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman are far behind us, and now we pretty much just walk around the quad like zombies until the next time we can be home in bed again.

Our SWUG crew - we've come a long way since Hill Hall 2013.
But for me, the SWUG life doesn't mean washing up or losing drive. It means living in the moment, not caring about other people's expectations of you, and above all, doing what makes you happy. Whether it's joining the burlesque dance team or running through campus in a banana suit (both of which are items on my college bucket list), being a SWUG is about having the best senior year I can, before I leave an environment where society expects me to be ridiculous and irresponsible.

This summer, my friend Helen and I bought matching "Lettuce Be Friends" shirts and held a photoshoot throughout the Tufts campus. This is how SWUGs spend their free time.
Now, here comes the million-dollar question: how can we balance our in-the-moment, non-commital SWUG identities with the overriding need to have a plan after the caps are thrown? I'm not going to be unreasonable and suggest that you spontaneously critique your resume or change out of your sweatpants for a half-hour interview, but I do have a few ideas about what a SWUG can do in between naps and on-campus events that provide free food to start career planning:

Attend the Career Fair. Every year it seems to sneak up on us, but the Fall Career Fair is THIS FRIDAY, 11:30-2:30 in GANTCHER. There will be over 180 employers there looking specifically to recruit Tufts seniors for post-grad jobs. It's a few hours out of your Friday - you can do this. Even if you don't find the perfect job for you, attending the fair will give you an idea of what is out there, and what you can look for.

Explore your options. This goes hand in hand with attending the Career Fair. Before entering the workforce, you should try to inform yourself about the different paths you can take with your degree. This can be done simply by browsing the Internet, or by meeting with a Career Advisor. 

Me, looking for (a mind at) work. (I kind of got obsessed with Hamilton this summer. And I couldn't post a picture of LA and snub NYC, which in Angelica Schuyler's and my opinion is the greatest city in the world.)
Talk to people. Another great way to explore job opportunities is to put yourself out there and talk to professionals with careers that interest you. It can be anyone - your professor, your friend's mom, your mom's friend, your professor's mom... the list goes on.

Apply, apply, apply. One of my clearest memories from the college application process is something my best friend told me after her tour at a highly prestigious university. When she asked the tour guide what she could do to increase her chances of getting in, the tour guide responded, "Apply." This is true of the job search as well: by applying to as many positions as you can, you'll increase your chances of finding a great opportunity.

I know I just threw a lot of information at you, and for my fellow seniors currently reading this, it's okay to be completely overwhelmed (that's sort of how I feel all the time lately). But if you just start by doing one of these suggestions, you'll already be making progress towards your career goals,

It's going to be an amazing year, and before we know it, it's going to be over. Let's look out for each other, and make sure we all have a next step after we walk off the stage in May.

Until next time,
Sean Boyden
Class of 2017