It’s the night before The Placement Exchange. You have your outfits ready to go and all of your research in order. I’m an employer this year and my outfits are also ready to go and your candidate files are in order. A few words of encouragement before the four-day whirlwind begins:
Nervous? Good. It means you care. It means you want to do well in interviews so you can do right by our students. Have a thousand questions? Awesome. It means you are invested. Worried you won’t get a job? Wonderful. It means you are committed to this field.
TPE is the best and the worst of student affairs. It is loud and overwhelming and raucous and relational and impersonal. It inspires everyone to have an opinion, myself included. What to say, what not to say, what to wear, what not to wear, what questions to ask, how to schedule, when to take a break, how to talk to your cohort, and how to tell them to mind their own business. Maybe you’ve watched an webinar, participated in a Twitter chat, connected with mentors, did mock interviews, and more to prepare. Good. These are all good things. But they aren’t the only thing.
No amount of preparation will prepare you for the exhausting, exhilarating profession of helping college students find their place in the world. No mock interview prepares you for sitting next to a student whose roommate just died. No webinar will replace the feeling of total pride when you see one of your troubled students walk across the stage at graduation. No Twitter chat will help you understand the political landscape of a college campus.
And this is okay. This is fine. No one at TPE expects you to already have these skillsets in your back pocket. We are hiring not just based on your experiences, but also on your potential. Believe it or not, employers want you to succeed. We want you to be amazing, to be awesome, to knock our socks off, and say to ourselves, “If only we could make a job offer now.” We are rooting for you. 100%.
So you need to root for yourself. Employers want you to be the best version of yourself. To come with your experience and knowledge and opinions. We don’t want perfection. We want a holistic sense of who you are and who you will be for our students. No one knows how to be a better you than you. So go out there and be it.
If you need a pep talk, processing, or just a listening ear, feel free to reach out to me. I will be recruiting with the Xavier University team and you can reach me via Twitter @MarciKWalton