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January 23, 2008 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-01-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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S S S U

Th 3ihga .al - nsa, aur 23 20O
S grsinalg
gSel 'n out when no one is buying~yesr

twas S'am., I was dressed up
like a second-rate real estate
agent and my mother had her
camera out.
I was about to go to the airport
to fly to my first professional inter-
view.
But while I spent the day navi-
gating three airports and one office
when I should have been in class,
I couldn't shake the feeling that
the whole thing was a farce. I was
no young professional. I was a 19-
year-old kid in her mother's five-
year-old blazer. My black clothes
clashed and my one pair of dress
shoes made an inexplicable squeak-
ing sound when I walked.
That I lacked an appropriate
interviewing ensemble could be
chalked up to my indifference to
fashion before a severely restrain-
ing budget - though my cash flow
would definitely tighten if I decid-
ed to invest in office wear. But as I
lined my shoes with toilet paper to
muffle the infernal clacking, I real-
ized for the first time that my casu-
al ways would have to go, that being
a schlub might just cost me a job.
My mother had bad the same
problem. In a badly thought-out

attempt at encouragement, she had
told me about her first internship.
As a young interior design intern,
shehad scrapedtogethergas money
to commute an hour from Ypsilanti
every week for a summer. At the
end of the assignment, she received
good reviews on her evaluation for
every category but "dressed profes-
sionally." She was marked down for
not having the clothes she was try-
ing to work to afford.
Encouragingly enough, she
ended up getting a better posi-
tion with the same firm the next
year. But, unlike me, my mother
has never used a backpack until
four fruit-sized holes threatened
to spew its contents across State
Street. And, unlike Iwill, she didn't
enter the working world when a
tumultuous economy and shift-
ing office dynamics threatened to
eliminate prospective job options
before she could even apply.
With those difficulties charac-
terizing my own job search, it's no
wonder I'm anxious that seeming
less at ease in the office setting will
be a reason for an interviewer to
hire some faceless Northwestern
applicant over me.

But the transition from college
student to young professional is
tricky for even the most fashion-
sensible student. Having watched
my business school roommate,
with her closet full of ironed but-
ton downs, and my engineering
roommate, with his go-to black
interviewing suit, negotiate the
career world in between classes
Turns out
job searching
is more painful
than puberty
has cemented the universality of
this plight.
While our talent, or at least tit-
illating resumes, have landed us
interviews, trying to put the best
foot forward is difficult when the
other is still planted on campus.
My business school roommate
is in the midst of second-round
interviews with investment banks.

She has spent the last week racing
breathlessly from class to inter-
views just in time to collect herselfy
and seamlessly say what 23 multi-
plied by 28 is, or why she wants to
work in an industry that is seeing
new setbacks daily due to economic
recession.
Next week, she'll fly to New York
and Chicago for zero-fun day trips
while her professors begrudgingly
mark her absences. It's supposed
to be the aim of the Ross School
of Business, and the University in
general, to facilitate the hiring of
University students, but not at the
expense of attendance rules.
The hardest part about nego-
tiating a professional job search
alongside college life is the unpre-
dictability of it all. I can't count the
times I've seen my roommate have
to field a call from a bank repre-
sentative right as she was about to
shovel the first bite of Ramen into
her mouth or tell an inappropriate
joke. Much like a dog that salivates
at the sound of a bell, the change in
her tone of voice has become a con-
ditioned reflex to her ring tone.
Workingfor The MichiganDaily,
I've experienced enough sponta-

neous work calls of my own. Too
many times, I've fallen to my knees
while walking to class to scribble
down notes in the middle of the
sidewalk because an elusive source
finally called me back.
But the difference is even when
I came off as frazzled or unpro-
fessional I was able to collect and
redeemmyself.Iknew that- if only
for the sake of publicizing a cause/
opinion/defense - the people on
the other end of theline needed me
as much as I needed them. I can't
say that for my prospective employ-
ers.
But of course, who's to com-
plain? I'm at a quality university
with access to everything that ulti-
mately gets people jobs. And while
I could be filling out scholarship
forms or doing work that would
make me money now, I'm going to
continue taking out loans and solic-
iting internship applications in the
hope that some company will let
me grace its office.
Maybe I'll even buy a pair of
shoes for the occasion.
-Jessica Vosgerchian is associate
magazine editor for The Michigan Daily

:

INTERNATIONALS
From Page 5B
group that tries to promote intercul-
tural networking between all South-
east Asians around.
The group is only a few years old,
but the individual groups have been.
in existence for years. The Southeast
Asian Network plans to host events
and programs to help familiarize
the different groups with each other,
Ann Arbor and their common experi-
ences, Wong said.
One campus group, International
Friendship, is a branch of Interna-
tional Students, Inc., a national orga-
nization devoted to improving the
experiences of international students
at American schools.
International Students, Inc. pro-
vides an online advice under the sec-
tion "Survival in the U.S."
"Thepublictransportationsystems
in most cities in the United States are
not as developed as inmanycountries
around the world,"the website warns
in a section about transportation.
The website outlines the best way
to go about getting medical care and
banking services as well as navigat-
ing garage sales and grocery stores.
"American grocery stores contain

an overwhelming variety and quan-
tity of food. You may find it tempting
to cry everything in sight; however,
if you have a tight budget you should
make a list and purchase only those
items, and not to go to the store when
you are hungry (people tend to buy
more when they are hungry)," the
website said.
But no matter a person's experi-
ence, four years at a foreign college
provides a cultural education that
goes far beyond basic knowledge of
an American grocery store.
After graduation, most of the Uni-
versity of Michigan's international
students return to their native coun-
tries, or at least settle in places much
different from Ann Arbor. There,
they apply what they've learned in
America.
"I want to make use of what I've
learned here and bring it back to
Indonesia," Kurniawan said.
But whether they meant to or
not, the university's international
students leave with more than just
a prestigious degree that will open
doors for them at home - there's the
rules to American football, the words
to a certain fight song and the cus-
toms of American dating that may not
be much use in other countries, but
are hard-pressed to be unlearned.

VISUAL STATEMENT

The Fleetwood Diner, one of Ann Arbor's only 24-hour diners, is a peculiarity of the Main Street area. It's
likely you've found yourself unexpectedly chowing down onthe Fleetwood's cuisine after at least one inde-
cently long night - but how well do you remember it? To find out what the late-night mainstay is like for its
employees and most loyal patrons go to:
www.michigandaily.com/allvideos

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