Editor's column: Students have the right to want more from the CCD
A couple weeks ago, the Thresher covered the career fair, and chose to make the expo’s shortcomings the focus of our editorial. Unfortunately, the point, in many instances, was completely missed by readers, particularly people who have already graduated from Rice and hold jobs (perhaps jobs they found themselves without any help from Rice).
First of all — hi, I’m an English major. Maybe you have something to say about my complaints in particular. Trust me, any veiled insults you may wish to throw my way (“Don’t expect jobs to be piling up at your doorstep,” “Yeah you can major in a ‘passion,’ but that was your choice and not the CCD’s fault”), I’ve told it all to myself before. That’s not the point; in fact, it’s almost never the point.
I can’t emphasize enough that I, and so many other students who are dissatisfied with the Career Expo and of course the Center for Career Development, absolutely do not expect opportunities to just bloom in front of us. I don’t believe in things just being handed to me, just because that does not happen (unless I’m the most well-connected and/or privileged person ever).
The fact is, we’re paying a lot to be here. I see the value in my degree (even though it took me a long time to reach that point), but for me, and for all students, at least half the value of Rice isn’t purely academic. So much of the real world requires applicational skills that we simply do not learn in the classroom. We’re here for the social aspects too, obviously, and the opportunities that arise from the connections Rice can give us.
But beyond that, I expect my school to show that it cares about the academic community I belong to. I don’t expect it to cater to me, but I think at the very least I should be afforded an outward appearance of effort. All the practical concerns and drawbacks of having certain desired companies at the career fair are well-placed and reasonable; but if this many people are consistently complaining year after year, there’s something that needs to be changed overall.
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to “change my outlook.” I think I deserve to get the job I want. It might not happen — in fact the likelihood of that is almost always very slim, but I deserve to try and I deserve as much opportunity as other majors to get a shot at that. I’m sick of ONLY hearing congregations of certain majors and career interests discussing their recruitment cycles. I literally have no other student to talk to about job applications, because I don’t have the resources to do so. My (few) humanities and even social sciences friends and I attend zero info sessions, because we have none to attend. In fact, just hearing “info session” incites in me a gag reflex because I know what it’ll be about — consulting, oil and gas, investment banking, etc.
After the expo ended and after our paper covering the expo came out, I actually opened an email from the CCD. Lo and behold, it regarded a presentation on “arts, entertainment, and communication.” I looked at the list of speakers, and even though I’m sure those people are great, overall, I felt a wry disappointment. Believe me, I wanted the CCD to prove me wrong. I don’t think it’s that hard to find people, even if they’re students, who have had experience in some fields that are not explored whatsoever. I got an internship at a legit dream company this summer, and that happened without any help from Rice. I’ve never learned anything about that industry whatsoever while at Rice, and I’ve heard of literally one other Rice student who got an internship in that field. I know I can take responsibility for my future, and I think all students here do — but wouldn’t it be great if I had someone to talk to at Rice about that particular avenue?
To be honest, I don’t think it’s that hard. I’ve looked for jobs and internships on New York University, Wellesley College, and Boston University’s websites. It can be a simple matter of redirecting students to certain companies and openings; the CCD can say, “Here — why don’t you take a look at these companies? They have this and this open, and that could be well-suited for your major,” rather than saying, “Just Google it” (a CCD counselor actually said that to a student, by the way).
Diversity in student body in turn requires a diversity of resources and opportunities. Rice is not lacking in money, connections or reputation. It doesn’t matter if there are fewer humanities and social sciences majors than STEM majors. We exist, and therefore, we should have a say and a chance at the resources Rice can and should offer. If we are a part of the student population, then we too ought to be afforded the same benefits as other majors that people would so rudely declare more “practical.”
At the end of the day, we chose Rice. It is a huge privilege to be here, and I’m grateful that Rice admitted me. But I, among many others, chose to apply to Rice, and we chose to come here out of many other options available to us. At the very least, we deserve to see appropriate returns for our commitment.
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