How did I feel as a second-semester senior just back from winter break (and before the COVID-19 crisis hit)? Stressed. It was impossible not to think about life after college. Juggling the many responsibilities that come with being an active Spider was already not easy. Throw another ball into this juggling act — the job search — and it was getting even harder.

That’s why the internship and job prospects offered at the Spider Career Expo in February felt like a lifeline.

I arrived at a Queally Center annex nervous, but these nerves ended up being misplaced. Friendly recruiters at every table were eager to share their stories, both as Spiders and how the Expo helped them professionally when they were students.

I was surprised to see familiar faces from the not-so-distant past behind some of the tables. Old friends became new professional connections after short conversations. I felt a sense of comfort, like someone was in my corner rooting for me to succeed. I walked away inspired to return as an alum to help the next generation of students.

Alumni have many opportunities to help current Spiders, and the Career Expo is one great way to get involved. Another is by participating in Spider Shadowing, which pairs current students with employers in their specific areas of interest for half-day or full-day job shadowing experiences during the winter and summer breaks. Spiders in a range of industries and locations are a part of the program.

I never got the chance to shadow, but I hope other students take this opportunity. I hope, too, that one day I can come back and pay forward the help so many alumni have given
to me.