On November 10th at 6PM at Prospect House, my supervisor at Career Services handed me a flip camera and asked me to record my experiences. I had a few hours to network with alumni, talk with other students, and catch everything on video.
Upon first entering, I was immediately struck by the number of students that attended. Though the space was quite large, there always seemed to be students crowded around each alumnus for the duration of the event. Because of the diverse range of industries represented by the Princeton graduates, there was a constant flow of attendees weaving throughout the tables. In fact, I was unable to interview several of the alumni I had originally intended, such as Katie Ko ’09 and Dana Dreibelbis ’78, because they were always engaged in a conversation with a student. Despite the fact that time did not permit me to interview every alumnus, I did have some very interesting conversations with about a dozen graduates. As a senior, my conversations were less geared towards garnering advice about major and industry, and more geared towards creating a career path from an entry-level job.
For me, the most compelling conversations concerned alumni’s own experiences from their first year out of college. I spoke with alumnus Larry Fox ’77 who glowed as he recounted his years teaching at an American school in Caracas, Venezuela and explained that it was an important life step before beginning a career in engineering and manufacturing. Lily Hines ’09, only two years out, happily spoke with me about the trials and tribulations of applying for law school while holding a job. I attempted to capture as many of these conversations as I could on camera, but I must admit, it was my first time using the device, and I had several mishaps. For example, I had a hard time fitting some of the attendees in one frame. When asking Kevin McGowan ’95 to share some advice for Princeton students, for instance, I attempted to show off his great Princeton tie as he was telling students to pursue a job that they can enjoy, and I ended up cutting out his entire forehead and eyes at one point. I also found it interesting that the word “passion” was used so many times throughout the interviews. Nearly every alumnus emphasized finding a job or sector that a student is “passionate about,” which is excellent advice. In fact, this common theme popped up three or four times in each conversation. (How many times can you count the word “passion” over the course of the video?)
With that said, I had a ton of fun at the event. I loved getting mixed advice from both young alumni and those more established in their fields. As I videotaped the event, I was curious to listen to the questions my peers asked and to hear the tailored advice they received. Eating good food and chatting with so many talented and smart individuals made the night a great success in my mind. Hopefully, despite some mishaps with my camera work, I was able to show what a fun and educational night this was. Check out my video below…