Senior year: the last year of college. What comes next? The Void? Backpacking through Europe? The Abyss? Moving back in with your parents? Who’s to say? Certainly not graduating senior Mira Mooreland ’21.
For Mooreland, who has yet to declare her second major in either philosophy or biology (she hasn’t quite decided which, but she figures she has time), the reality that her days at Vassar are rapidly coming to an end slowly dawned on her last Monday, when classes began.
“It changed me,” Mooreland said. “The sun shone through my window like it does every day, I sat up in bed like I do every morning, but this time something was different. I knew in my gut big changes were coming that day, I just didn’t know what. And then it hit me: I have to figure out what I’m going to do after college.”
The change in Mooreland was not simply big: it was monumental. For the first time in her storied four-year Vassar career, Mooreland opened an email from the CDO.
“Honestly, I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect. I’d never opened one before,” Moreland explained. “What font would they use? Would they put important information in bold so I didn’t actually have to read the whole email? The hardest part was the not knowing.”
For those of our readers who have also not opened these emails, the CDO (formally known as “Career Development Office”) helps prepare students for life beyond Vassar by hosting alumnae/i speakers and helping with resumes and cover letters. Their emails include a mix of information about programming and increasingly aggressive demands to join Vassar Handshake.
Mooreland described what it was like for her to read the email for the first time.
“I’ve never seen so many internships for STEM majors listed in one place before. It was a sea of comp sci and research internships. So many of them were paid, I couldn’t believe it,” Mooreland commented.
Since reading the CDO email, Mooreland’s outlook on her future after graduation has changed completely.
“Before reading their email, I’d been thinking about applying to grad school, but honestly with all the resources and connections Vassar alums have to offer, why waste my time studying when I could be networking?”
Mooreland launched herself into career planning: updating her resume, posting her resume to Handshake, posting her resume to LinkedIn and posting her Handshake to LinkedIn.
“The idea is breadth and depth and also breadth. I need companies to be able to find me just by Googling ‘person,’” Mooreland shared. “I’m already way behind because I’ve only done one internship each summer when I should have known better. I can’t believe I didn’t read the CDO emails sooner.”
Brimming with enthusiasm for her future as yet unspecified career, Mooreland has been racing around campus distributing her business cards, which she cut into the shape of throwing stars to maintain safe social distance.
“The shape is aerodynamic. I just fling it and it practically hits the person itself. I’ve only gouged out three people’s eyes, so that’s pretty good. Plus it leaves an impression—you’re never going to forget the person whose business card blinded you in one eye,” Mooreland boasted.
Mooreland’s proactiveness in preparing for her future has not gone unnoticed by students or school administrators. The administration has updated the Daily Health Questionnaire in order to effectively reach those who have been paper cut or worse by her business cards.
“I don’t know how she has all the time to do this,” one administrator commented, “or where she got the idea. I don’t think the CDO has ever recommended this kind of strategy.”
Mooreland’s other strategies have not been quite so analog.
“It’s 2020, people don’t just read pieces of paper any more. So while I like the tactility of a business card, I’ve also been spending my time guessing Zoom call numbers and passwords. It doesn’t matter whose meeting I get into—once I show up, I can give my elevator pitch and get out. I’m trying to work smarter with getting my resume out there, not harder,” Mooreland said.
In response, the CDO’s next Zoom workshop will be on etiquette in a job search and how to have a balanced approach to life after Vassar.