The career development center is hosting its first annual Career Carnival Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the ACC ballrooms to help students build up their professionalism in order to prepare for life after university.
Julia Overton-Healy, who is the director of the career development center, wanted to organize an event that is fun for the students. The purpose of the event is to help students that may be unsure about what their future holds with the major they chose.
“We wanted to do something that would combine education about careers, while also having some fun,” Overton-Healy said. “The whole point of it is, careers shouldn’t feel scary. We want people to feel like they can come to the career center, come to our events, have some fun and learn something.”
She also said how a lot of students feel intimidated by choosing a career because they are under the impression that it is something they will have to do for the rest of their lives.
“We want people to get over that fear of, ‘oh, it’s the rest of my life,’ – no it isn’t,” Overton-Healy said. “It’s some choices that you’re going to make for the next couple years, and then we’re going to figure out what’s next for you.”
From working with first year students through alumni, Overton-Healy seemingly has all the answers for whatever questions a student may have about their major, job or passion.
“We get a lot of students that come in here that are anxious about making a decision about their careers,” Overton-Healy said. “We can help you with career exploration, how to get ready for a job interview and how to connect with other people with the same job interest.”
Overton-Healy hopes to have a big turnout for the event, not only for the students, but also for the collaborators that helped put the event together.
“This team (of peer career assistants) came up with this project and conceptualized it from the beginning,” Overton-Healy said. “They were able to find collaborating student group partners (ALPFA and PRSSA), so it is a full-cycle project management experience. Not only is it great for the campus, but it is great for them as well. As far as what we hope to walk in the door, a couple hundred would be great.”
At the carnival, there will be various different games, raffles, prizes and free food.
Overton-Healy has noticed the overwhelming amount of students who have no idea what they want to do after college, let alone, what they are able to do with their respective major when they graduate. This event helps those students get a grasp on the professional world, by helping them with résumés, creating a LinkedIn profile and how to use the networking website, as well as other various career-building activities.
“This is an opportunity for somebody to practice some initiative,” she said. “Employers want to see initiative. We want people to come to this event who normally wouldn’t think to, and start to expand their network.”
In this day-in-age, it is all about networking and who you know, which is something Overton-Healy emphasizes the importance of doing while in college.
“We also have our annual career fair coming up in March, which a lot of people think is for only seniors,” she said. “A lot of students miss that opportunity to network. A lot of our employers want to see you year-after-year, from when you first get to college to when you are ready to graduate.”
This event would not be made possible without the combined efforts from all of the Peer Career Assistants (PCAs).
Juniors Gisette Paez and Janelle Burgos are two of the six PCAs that helped organize the Career Carnival, and has been a work in progress ever since last semester.
“We held an event last spring, but we didn’t have a large turnout like we wanted,” Paez said. “What we did differently this semester is we reached out to other clubs that may be interested in collaborating with us, as well as reaching out to the international students who sometimes may feel left out from these events.”
This event is made for anyone and everyone, no matter if you are confident on your major or have no idea what you want to major in, or have thoughts of switching majors. The Career Carnival will help diffuse any questions one would have regarding a career choice.
“Coming into college, I thought a career was permanent. That’s an idea a lot of students have,” Paez said. “Knowing what I know now, I don’t think it’s a straight line, but more of a circle. I see a career on a wider spectrum now, instead of a tunnel vision straight line decision.”
PCAs have nothing but positive things to say about their experience working inside the career development center. It has given them the opportunity to have a better idea of the different career paths that are related to their major.
“I have grown as a professional as well as a student,” Burgos said. “I’ve been able to expand my boundaries with what I can do with my skills in the major that I have.”
The career development center fully encourages the entire student body to attend this event from 7-9 p.m., Wednesday Feb. 22 in the ACC ballrooms.
“This event is really important, especially for students who are undeclared. We have a lot of great opportunities that will open doors for them,” Burgos said. “It’s a fun event and everybody should come out, and it’s all free to students.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at firstname.lastname@example.org