Not all who wander are lost

By Ruwan Teodros

(Daily Collegian Archives)
(Daily Collegian Archives)

As a peer advisor at Career Services, my job is to edit people’s resumes, help them write their cover letters and generally act as somewhat of a guide for them at the University of Massachusetts. I am there to help students take advantage of the resources this school provides in order to make it as easy as possible for them to be successful in their careers post-graduation.

Student after student walks in and presents a different situation. Some are frazzled and panicked about finding internships for credit, while others are flustered about how they need to get an internship at that exact second because they just realized that they’re three years into college and have nothing to show for it. I always do my best to calm down the frazzled students and tell some anecdote from my own life to comfort them. The students walk out, panicked eyes slightly less stormy and shoulders looser than before.

Other times, I review the resumes of students who think they already know everything they need to know, and just want me to confirm their knowledge for them. These students usually have ridiculously high grade-point averages and heavily-laden resumes that put even mine to shame. Seriously, how does someone have multiple internships? How do people have time for this? Sometimes I will look at resumes incredulously and just sigh. However, these people have still come to Career Services seeking reassurance because although they think they have got it together, they still need a little help and a pat on the back now and then.

Being placed in these situations has made me realize that no amount of training will ever make me feel ready to graduate or to face “real life” outside of college. As I look at these students who expect me to have answers, I find myself giving them advice that even I don’t follow through on sometimes. Here I am preaching to these students about making the most of their college experience and staying busy while I dodge phone calls from my mother about applying for internships. Eventually, to silence her, I will grudgingly fill out applications and scramble to make deadlines even after I promised myself I would not leave everything until the last second.

I shed my peer advisor persona as soon as I walk out the door of Goodell Hall and allow the internal panic surrounding the 1,000-word essay that I haven’t even started to take over. I am no longer the person with poised answers about resume tips and interview skills at the tip of her tongue, but a student who often falls victim to crippling procrastination.

What I’m trying to say, admittedly not very well, is that I now have come to terms with the fact that I will never have all the answers and that all of us, even the exceptionally studious students that have been overachievers since they came out of the womb, are stumbling blindly in the dark. Once you make peace with that, ask for plenty of help along the way and stress-eat a lot, you should be just fine. No promises though.

Ruwan Teodros is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].