Critical response to coverage of the OCC continued…

I am writing in response to the article in the March 11th issue of the Record about how the OCC is handling seniors’ job difficulties during the recession, and specifically to corroborate and extend the opinions expressed by Lindsay Bouton, which I thought were too underplayed by the uniformly positive evaluations that followed, all notably from students with jobs in consulting. I agree with Lindsay’s critique that the OCC may do a great job in helping students who are interested in careers in certain fields (such as finance), but that it is unfortunately lacking in resources for students with other interests.

As a psychology major, I was interested in finding a clinical or research position for the next two years. Just as Lindsay pointed out that many students feel their interests do not fit any of the career counselors’ fields of expertise, I had trouble finding helpful information for mine in the OCC’s resources. For instance, there are no e-mail listserves in the Route 2 System that might include clinical psychology positions. I skeptically subscribed to the closest ones I could find: “Education and Teaching,” “Health Professions,” “Science and Technology” and “Social Services and Nonprofits.” I received a large number of e-mails for jobs for which I had little interest or qualifications.

I talked to some professors at the beginning of the year to hash out my interests, and the psychology department is extremely helpful in e-mailing research position posts to majors; as a result, I have a research job for next year. My very limited use of the OCC was not for lack of trying, but the unhelpful e-mail listserves and the experiences of some fellow classmates kept me from using its resources. One friend sent several e-mails to various counselors she thought would be able to help her, with no response. She went to Weston, and was told to e-mail somebody for an appointment. Based on this and similar experiences, OCC Director John Noble’s hope that students with varied interests “feel they have easy access to the counselors in our office” is not realized.

This kind of discouragement and frustration is unacceptable, especially when caused by the office whose job it is to encourage and advise every talented Williams student in finding and realizing his or her career goals. While I am glad the Record chose to highlight the difficulties this year’s seniors are facing, I was disappointed in the biased reporting that almost exclusively quoted students in one specific career field; as a result, the article did not accurately reflect the broader sentiments of the senior class towards this issue.

Alexandra Hoff ’09