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En Route #22


On the Market

This week I sent off my 50th job application. Then promptly fell asleep on my couch. In just a few weeks I’ve become very familiar with the unique exhaustion that is looking for employment. Each application saps a bit of your strength, and by the time you send your resume for the 50th time, well, let’s just say it’s hard to get up. A previously unexplored chapter in the life of a 2nd semester senior is the job hunt. Key word being, hunt. It’s a jungle out there, and for what might be the first time in your life, you’re on your own kid.

Now it’s not all snapping jaws and dark wilderness, a part of me kind of enjoys the search. In a way, it almost feels like shopping. You’re searching through the racks of clothes, trying on what you like and seeing what might fit. The only difference is that instead of being allowed to try on that sweater in the dressing room, you first have to hand the sales associate a list of your qualifications to even touch that sweater, while knowing you’re competing against a whole store full of other customers who want nothing more than to buy that sweater for themselves. Can you tell I haven’t been shopping in awhile?

Job hunting is stressful, there’s really no avoiding that, but I’ve tried my best to cultivate a relaxed mindset towards the whole process. In many ways, it’s a numbers game. The more applications you send out, the more likely you’re gonna get tapped. While graduation is still a ways away, though still a bit close for comfort, now is the time to start preparing for what comes next. I’ve done a few interviews so far and am really crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to have a job offer before I put on that graduation gown. The most difficult part about job hunting isn’t really the hunt itself, but actually the fact that life (and school) is still going on around you. It becomes sort of like this side-hustle as you try and secure your long-term goal of not being a starving artist while also frantically working on your short-term goal of, well, being an artist at all.

Classes are heating up along with the temperature as we, students, frantically prepare the first stress test of the semester, Midterms. Long story short, it’s been a bit crazy. This week was jam packed with outings, a break from my usually quiet 5-day weekends. First up was a weekend jaunt to the BnF (The Bibliothèque nationale de France), the biggest library in France, third in the world. We had an amazing behind the scenes tour that took us around the entire facility, from the way they transport the books to the gorgeous view from one of the top floors. It’s the kind of cavernous building that’s really quite comforting, and I did enjoy all that red carpet.

Next was a trip to Studio Fidèle, a working printing studio for my RISO printing class. This also happens to be my objectively most pain-free class as it’s mostly pure enjoyment as we learn the ins and outs of that funky little printer. The studio was, in a word, breathtaking. At school we have 5 colors to choose from, but this studio had a total of 36 colors to print with. Next was a trip to the Terra Foundation library. Top tip: if you ever go, take the elevator instead of hiking the 4 flights of stairs like a maniac. I had quite an enjoyable time doing a few hours of research, and the building is really just gorgeous. It’s the kind of place where you really feel like the main character of a movie. I’m really happy that I get to expand on my thesis research from last semester, I just hope it peaks the interest of my audience.

All in all, it’s around this time that we tend to get run off our feet with how much we have to do each day, week, month. It may be the midway point of the semester, but we’re also starting to feel the weight of the academic year. I get tunnel vision just looking at my calendar, never mind all the white space that’s after graduation. The only advice I can give to my fellow students, but seniors most of all, is this: Hold on, and just get it done. Whether it’s applying for that 51st job, doing those watercolor paintings you’ve been promising your professor, or just folding that pile of clothes on your floor, just decide that you’re going to get it done. And then take a nap.

We can do it!

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