Let the Games Begin!

I recently finished reading The Hunger Games and found myself relating to my life. Now, for those of you who have read the book you might find this interesting or confusing. Now, if you will just let me explain… During my graduate school experience, I had a cohort of 30-35 amazing individuals. In a one-year master’s program, things are fast paced and stressful at times. On top of your school commitments, you also must job search. Job searching can in itself be a full time job and you can find yourself competing against others for the coveted prize- the start of your professional career. In case you have found yourself wondering, this is where I explain my previous statement regarding The Hunger Games.

If you haven’t read the book, I highly encourage that you go out and purchase it now (right after reading this blog entry of course!). Here is a brief synopsis: In a futuristic world, the government forces two kids, a boy and girl, from each of 12 districts to compete in a competition entitled The Hunger Games. These 24 people must fight to the death for themselves and their districts in front of the world. There is only one winner. Sounds really interesting, right? It is! But you ask yourself, what does this have to do with Student Affairs? Well, this may be a stretch, but I believe it does relate to the job search process. You are not only competing against others but also yourself to find a position that it perfect for you and your goals.

With The Placement Exchange (TPE) starting this week, I have found myself reflecting on the job search process. I started applying for positions in late February and knew I was late in the game. By this time, many of my friends and colleagues had already applied to numerous positions and had lined up interviews for TPE. Now translate this to the book, if you are late in the game you miss opportunities to find food and water, which are vital to your success. However, I did not let this stop me. I pushed through and applied to as many positions as I could and ended up having several interviews during TPE. And a side note for readers: job searching is not a race. You need to find the position that is right for you. I highly encourage that you start your job search process as early as possible in order to allow yourself the maximum opportunities available.

During and after TPE you find yourself comparing yourself to others. You compare notes and realize that mistakes or triumphs that you have made. You ultimately learn from the mistakes you or your friends have made and improve for the next interview. Now going back to The Hunger Games: if your first strategy does not work, keep trying. You will succeed. You have to fight for survival and cannot let another person’s victory keep you down. In other words, you will find that perfect position! Just because other people are offered positions does not mean that you won’t eventually have that offer yourself.

In the book, the characters struggle with forming alliances and how this will ultimately hinder or help their future success. Again, this relates to my experience. In my cohort, we found strength within one another. Whether it was words of encouragement, to re-read over cover letters and resumes several times, wardrobe advice, or meeting as a group to fill out job applications, we were an alliance. There were times when it was stressful to be apart of the alliance, but in the end it was worth having this bond. Unlike the book, we were all winners. We all were offered and accepted positions that fit our goals. All of the stress was worth it! For those of you just starting your job search journey, good luck. It will be a bumpy road but it will eventually lead to good things. Happy Hunting! 

Amber Phillips

Student Affairs - the First Years

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