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The Job Search: What My High School Guidance Counselor Didn’t Tell Me

August 28, 2007

So there I am waiting for the summer to start, about to end what some consider their most grueling academic experience. I came through my 1L year at the newborn Drexel University College of Law with a few scrapes and bruises; no permanent damage save for the rapid retreat of my hairline, a genetic reality sped up by my legal education.

I looked to forward to an engaging experience in the chambers of a phenomenal Judge and his equally phenomenal staff. However, before I could relish in the downtime afforded by my 9-to-5 government internship, I had to get through the law review competition. That “hurdle” took about two weeks from start to finish and involved my first all-nighter in recent memory. But once the competition was over, I had plenty of time to relax and enjoy what may be the last summer of my youth.

Then came a sobering thought–next summer. You know, that summer a whole year later. That one I need to apply for now. What a concept.

Granted, I gained a lot from that first arduous year. Besides the volumes of legal doctrine absorbed after hours of caffeine-addled study, I learned about my own abilities. Also, the Career Staff I have encountered at Drexel were invaluable in preparing me for the process. However, I am acutely aware that even though I feel like a repository of legal knowledge, I’m about as useful as a stapler right now (the regular kind, not the heavy-duty ones that can tear through the engine block of a Honda). Exaggerations aside, I find myself wondering how I can possibly vie for a job against so many qualified candidates. I certainly have proven much to myself, but I have so far to go.

Drexel is currently going through on-campus interviews. I was thrilled to get some. Then after going through three, I realized what little time I have to “wow” an interviewer. Trust me, first impressions are not my strong point (ask my girlfriend), and since those wonderful teenage years, I am burdened with an awkwardness that at times mixes poorly with my self-consciousness (ask my Contracts class).

Then there are the answers to questions that I come up with the next morning in the shower. Seriously, my neighbors probably think I’m nuts because I keep yelling answers to imaginary questions. Try eating your Lucky Charms and hearing, “I CAN REALLY SERVE THIS FIRM THROUGH MY TEAMWORK AND ENTHUSIASM!”

What’s worse is the fact that these interviews are for more interviews. Thus, I need to cut into my precious loan money for about one hundred resumes and cover letters in the “off-chance” I don’t get a job through these initial encounters. Those materials go to someone who may not even read it. How discouraging.

One benefit to this process is the end result–a job. Plus, the people that I do come into contact with are great in their own right, and I get to see my name in big letters on a resume.

Put simply, this process is tough. However, the reward makes the work worthwhile.

I realize that I will laugh at these hard times when I have landed a job. I wish those ascending second years good luck as they go through their job search with me.

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