The A&S Careers Program surprising summer closure

By Kara Hemphill, Copy Editor

IMG_4334-rThis summer, I was fortunate enough to obtain an internship at a small publisher in Cleveland through the Arts and Sciences (A&S) Careers Program.

I began in April, searching through the very helpful books they had that were packed full of internship opportunities for arts and science majors — everything from publishing to newswriting to marketing and communications.

From there, I carefully prepared envelopes of resumes, cover letters and writing samples to send off to the six companies I’d chosen to pursue internships with. This would eventually lead to several interviews and, of course, the internship itself.

It was a lot easier to feel confident about myself with the adviser from the Careers Program helping me along. The program was so structured it was almost intimidating, but the rigidity proved to be an asset in the long run, as it gave me incentive to keep up with my work.

During the term a student is doing an internship, they’re expected to go into the center for monthly progress meetings. This summer’s interns were instructed on how to make an effective writing portfolio and embarked on that journey a few weeks in.

The week of my second meeting, I was talking to a fellow intern about the somewhat lofty task of assembling a portfolio, when she asked me if I’d gotten the e-mail.

I hadn’t.

When I checked on my phone, I got a shock. I found an apologetic e-mail from our adviser saying the A&S program had closed down — just like that, right in the middle of the summer session.

I was at a bit of a loss.   Through the end of the spring semester and into the summer,     I had found great solace in the existence of the careers program.

Every college student knows about the less-than-stellar job market out there right now and I would venture to say liberal arts majors are especially aware. We’re often ridiculed or put down for the field we’re going into and I haven’t found a much more self-deprecating, future-fearing group of people on campus than my English classmates.

Relevant work experience, they say, is the key to getting a job in your field, and the A&S Careers Program definitely set students up with internships they might not have found on their own. Their help was invaluable to me this summer and I’m sad to see the program go.

I’m not sure if it will be back — current signs in the Arts and Sciences building say it’s closed “for the summer” — but I hope its services live on in some capacity. College students these days are in sore need of support pertaining to our future careers. Job hunting is stressful, discouraging and nerve-wracking, and having to go it alone is even worse. Even the most motivated of us feel hopeless when faced down with the prospect of unemployment.

I still did my writing portfolio and had a very successful summer with my internship, but the loss of the program that helped me get there leaves me wondering.

I have been unable to deduce what the actual cause of the program’s closure was or whether a similar service will be offered for arts and sciences students in the future.

In the meantime, the general Career Center in Simmons Hall can help students with their career needs. This is an under-utilized service that students could really benefit from taking advantage of.

Still, the A&S program was individualized, specific and very thorough in critiquing all of my application materials. I know it’s helped many others in my major and others secure relevant work experience and I can only hope the university won’t let it disappear forever.