Are we using our resources?

Posted by The Editorial Board

Over winter break, the College will host its second Sophomore January Program. The free program-but only open to a limited number of students-offers leadership sessions, career and personal assessment sessions with the Career Development Center, alumni guest speakers and a mini-course entitled "Presenting the Brand Called Me." Last year 36 sophomore students participated in the program.

Sophomore year at Skidmore is filled with a number of important decisions. Students must declare a major, select an advisor and begin thinking about if, when and where they would like to go abroad.

These are most certainly personal decisions, and ones that for the majority of students should not require intensive hand-holding throughout the process. But The Skidmore News does view the Sophomore January Program as a well-timed optional supplement to a student's sophomore year. The program is offered during the winter break, around the time when sophomore students are required to declare their major. The goal of the program is to develop a deeper understanding of personal and civic responsibility.

This paper recognizes that it is during sophomore year that much of a student's identity at Skidmore is constructed. The first year is a time of academic experimentation, but once sophomore year arrives, students are expected to choose and pursue a specific path and begin to plan for the future.

Creating an optional program personally tailored for sophomores looking to develop their personal presentation skills, as well as work on their resumes and interview strategies, is the most logical plan of action in preparing students for the future and hopefully fending off sophomore slump too. The services are available for those who seek them out, and non-mandatory for students who are not interested. After all, it's not the College's job to force students to actively think and plan for the future-nor should it be. It is, however, the College's job to encourage student planning. As students we have an enormous amount of resources and programming at our disposal-but are we using them?

Enrollment at the College is 2,660 students.

According to Megan Jackson, associate director and Information Technology manager at the College's Career Development Center, in the 2012-2013 academic year, 2,285 appointments were made with the Center.

Seem high?

Actually, 906 individual students and alumni made the appointments. Of that group, 709 were students while 187 were alumni.

That means about 25% of our student body pursues the free services at the Career Development Center.

Jackson recognizes that the Center offers a lot more services than most students are aware of, including free help with interview skills, resumes, cover letters, graduate school applications, networking with alumni and seeking internships. The Center will even assist a student with the specific language to use when reaching out to an alum or employer via e-mail. And here's the kicker-these are unlimited, lifetime services for all Skidmore alum. The Center even provides long-distance appointments via Skype.

As much as Skidmore is about the liberal arts and diversifying student's knowledge and understanding of the world, it's also about preparing students for the world. So don't wait until you've graduated to begin utilizing these resources.

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