Alumni give liberal arts career advice

Graduates often hold multiple careers, panelists say

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The Alumni Association hosted its annual “Cocktails and Conversations” for fourth-year students Thursday, offering an opportunity for students to network and meet University alumni who graduated with liberal arts degrees.

A panel of graduates discussed their career paths and gave advice to current fourth years, and a number of other College graduates spoke with students after the panel discussion. The panel’s central message was that there is no single path to success — a major in one subject does not inhibit students from doing something else entirely.

Lindsey Hepler, a Class of 2009 interdisciplinary major, told students their first jobs may not be perfect, and finding the right job can be a long, messy process. Rachael Eller, assistant director for membership and business development for the Alumni Association, reiterated Hepler’s point, stating that finding a job is often not a linear path.

“Really, the main message that we want to deliver in this event is that graduating with a liberal arts degree is valuable,” Eller said. “And that there is so much flexibility in what you can do with a degree in history or philosophy or English.”

Several panelists had held a number of very different jobs. Michael Guthrie, a Class of 1975 health and physical education major, has worked for YoungLife, sold furniture and now works in real estate.

“Another main message from this event is that you can change direction, and you can change your mind about what you want to do,” Eller said.

Fourth-year College student Sarah Beth Vernon, a Media Studies major, said that this information is valuable as a fourth year.

“With the liberal arts, we can analyze really well,” Vernon said. “That might transfer into being a people person, or writing well and being a press secretary or writing law. There are so many things you can do with a liberal arts degree that you can transfer into your career.”

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