My First Job

My First Job

By Juan Valencia

Before coming to the US I had lots of jobs: stuffing shelves at a supermarket, making copies at my university, and exterminating bugs. The latter was undoubtedly the most meaningful to my university degree; I was chemistry major. By meaningful I mean that I was able to apply skills that I was learning in school such as preparing solutions, reading chemical formulas and applying safety measures to be protected from all the chemicals I was using. But I did not want to be an exterminator for a long time. It was not until I arrived to New York and I was able to create a professional career out of what I was studying in university.

In Queens College, where I was studying English Literature, I was offered a job as a tutor at a middle school in Jackson Heights. I took it. The paid was not enough to cover all my expenses; I had to keep my second job as a mover to be able to live in this great city. But my job as a tutor gave me the confidence that I could be useful to a population that I could relate to and that I could eventually make a living out of it. I worked with middle school students who were also learning a new language and adapting to a new culture just as I was. Eventually I became a full time teacher—job that I still hold—and became more effective at teaching English Language Learners at the same time as I was attending my own school.

School taught me how to become an effective teacher by learning techniques and looking at education from many different angles. But school also taught me skills that are not part of any curriculum. It taught me how to be responsible, reliable, and punctual and many others that have helped me survived a system—the education system—that can be very intimidating and challenging. I am very grateful for all the opportunities and challenges given to me by my educational career.




1st Job Experience- Damn you, non-for-profit!

1st job experience-Damn you, non-for-profit


Sa-Rawla Stoute

  1. Write a brief essay, somewhere between 500 and 1500 words, about your first job after college, how you got it, how you were prepared (or not), what you did to enhance your skills, and why you left it. (Note:  if you prefer to write about your first job after graduate school, I can live with that!)

Upon graduating from undergrad, I went directly to graduate school both at St. John’s University, Queens campus. As one of the student managers for the women’s basketball team in undergrad, I came to know the Vice President of Athletics and she helped me retain a Graduate Assistant position within the department.  In that position I helped organize professional development workshops for all the student athletes. I was a part of a two-man team whose purpose it was to prepare student athletes for work just in case they didn’t make it as a professional in their respective sport. My boss at the time, Mary Pat, had an amazing rolodex and knack for pairing student athletes up with people, opportunities and jobs once they graduated.  Mary Pat was the queen of networking and I learned about finding commonalities with people and keeping in touch with them.  Having lunch was important and 13 years later, she never misses my birthday.


I graduated in the summer of 2004 with my Master’s in Education Counseling.  I was unemployed for approximately 2 months after graduating from graduate school when on a visit to see Mary Pat, I was casually linked to a student athlete whose job was hiring with my very degree and the rest was history.


My first job was working for a not-for profit business in Freeport, Long Island, although I lived in Brooklyn.  I was willing to take anything.  It paid very little but I was able to put gas in my car and make the travel. The job consisted of counseling at two different sites, only one of which I was actually qualified to do.  I counseled students that were gang involved and I counseled those dependent on drugs and alcohol to help them find work.  I helped organize after school activities a few days a week.  Since I was known for loving acting and filmmaking, I helped construct and direct plays with these students surrounding the topic of gang life.  It provided a therapeutic and a learning opportunity for the students.  Counseling students is what I was trained to do but I believed that I could not service those in the drug and alcohol rehab in the capacity that they needed.  I stayed at this job just over (or under) 2 years and during that time became increasingly unhappy (except when I did the after school program with the kids).


I left Freeport because I did many things that didn’t fit my skills or interest but it was a job.  I found myself feeling extremely unhappy with not having the theoretical skills to work with those in rehab also, there was no mentorship and no true direction given for growth.  I felt bound and used and this made me believe that non-for-profit organizations didn’t care WHO did the job, just that it got “done”.


As a part of this experience I knew that I wanted to work college-bound age and up, working with smaller children wasn’t my speed.  I learned that I loved working with colleagues and coworkers because it fulfilled my need for being social. Although I have great disdain for non-for-profit companies because the owners always profit and the workers make nothing, it can provide resume building opportunities.  When I left Freeport to interview at Bronx Community College in 2006 I was so confident and prepared because of my 1st job.

My First Job: Thanks CUNY?

My parents were always emphatic about school before work so until I turned 20 and was in my last semester of Hunter College, any talk of working part-time was dismissed by two very opinionated Colombians. Since I was granted a Thomas Hunter scholarship for my duration at Hunter College, I was advised to apply for the CUNYCAP (college assistant program) during my last semester by a professor I had met during one of the endless alumni dinners I had to attend because of my scholarship funding. The process was parallel to applying to my Master’s program at Brooklyn College. The process included filling out an application, two letters of recommendation, resume outlining work experience, proof of undergraduate graduation, and a copy of acceptance letter to graduate school for the interview. The process was a seamless process through my undergraduate to graduate academic career. The CUNY central office recommended several positions at different CUNY campuses which would contact me via email and by my second interview, I was offered the position.


I was not prepared for my job search after I graduated from Brooklyn College with my masters in English/Secondary Education when I was 22. The advisor was mainly concerned with the sequencing of courses I had to take to finish my degree. I was never given a course or instructions on how to search for teaching positions. The other students in my program were in their late 20s/30s and seemed to have job prospects lined up for them which only made me more concerned I had somehow missed the memo on how to find a position. I honestly don’t know how to apply for teaching positions in a public school and I would hope that I could go back as an alum to ask for assistance in the process.


If it wasn’t for my time in the CUNYCAP position at LaGuardia Community college where I was working 20 hours a week, I wouldn’t have the position I currently hold as an adjunct for the Humanities Department at LaGCC. I worked at the student help desk of the financial aid office where I met and helped train the Assistant Registrar at the time. When I received a call from him in his position as Registrar three year later offering me a personal recommendation for a position teaching Critical Thinking on campus, I jumped at the opportunity to teach again since I had been working at a temp agency doing data entry at the time.


College was never a moment for me to decide what my passion was. It was a place for me to learn and engage with other educators, see what strategies were best as an instructor, learn to manage my own schedule, and make a lot of mistakes on the way to where I am now. I never second guessed my path to teaching and CUNY allowed me to get there. Yet, if I was still in my search to teach high school English in a public school, I’d probably have little pedagogical practice between the time I graduated and the time the hiring freeze was lifted. I was never explained during my 4 years in an undergraduate or graduate studies what a charter school was; how to work as a paraprofessional; what the process of becoming a substitute teacher was; or any alternative routes to working in a public school beyond taking courses and hoping for a hail mary by the time I graduated. The CUNYCAP program and my engagement with students and staff at a financial aid office got me farther in my working career than my education CUNY. I suppose that’s the price you pay sometimes when you have a clear goal at a CUNY, but CUNY may have other plans for you.

My First Job

Upon graduating with my bachelor’s in Secondary Education from Brooklyn College, I was beyond nervous for a variety of reasons. I was the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and I did not want to disappoint my mentors and family members. I was well-aware that I had the opportunity to change my socioeconomic status for the better by obtaining a career that pays well. This mounting pressure pained my memory for my entire senior year, so I made sure to attend job fairs, complete all required exams, and consistently asked my mentors for assistance. Due to my persistence, I was fortunate enough to secure a job a few days after graduating as an eighth grade Humanities teacher, which quelled a lot of my anxieties, but the unforeseen issues started as soon as I began my first day of work.

Despite the NYS teacher examination preparation and many workshops offered by Brooklyn College’s Magner Career Center, I most certainly was not prepared for what I encountered during my first few months. Brooklyn College education courses primarily focused on the theories of cognitive psychologists, such as Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, but failed to acknowledge how to best serve the students in NYC’s public schools. Learning the foundation theories were important, but it would have been more beneficial if courses emphasized the importance of teaching in a system where almost 70% of students are students of color. Moreover, as Common Core Standards become the norm across the nation, it would seem imperative to educate pre-service teachers on how to align the standards with the needs of the students that they would encounter in their respective classrooms. As determined as I was to be an extraordinary educator my first year, the curriculum the administrators in my school expected me to use did not meet the needs of my students.

About one-third of my students were reading significantly below their grade level. To make matters worse, the curriculum, Teacher’s College (TC), barely accommodated those students who were reading below grade level. When TC sent educational advisers to my school to explain best practices on how we should use the curriculum, their advice to me when I expressed my concerns was to use the 5th-grade curriculum instead of the 8th, which seemed counterproductive because not all of my students were reading significantly below grade level. I felt discouraged because I was teaching in a school where 97% of the students are either Black or Latino and the curriculum that I was using did not meet their needs. I immediately reflected on the three years I spent at Brooklyn College. None of the courses or workshops I attended discussed how best to children of color. No professors connected the Common Core standards that we were to be evaluated on to the many curriculums that they knew we would have to teach.

I enhanced my skills and fostered an understanding of how to best serve my students by meeting with my mentors at Brooklyn College. They convinced me to attend professional developments focused on culturally relevant teaching, which is a pedagogy created by Gloria Ladson Billings (1994) that “empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes.” Culturally relevant teaching prepares teachers to be competent in a heterogeneous classroom where students range from a variety of backgrounds. As I became more familiar with the concept of culturally relevant teaching, I began implementing the strategies in my classroom, which led to higher engagement and reignited my passion for teaching.

First Job

My first post-graduation job found me data-entering indecipherable strings of code into a system that would publish these hieroglyphics into industrial supplies publications. I worked in a department with other new graduates, all young women with the title, “editorial assistant”, on the 19th floor of an equally inscrutable midtown building. No-one spoke to us, except a supervising manager, and occasionally, one of the single men in the marketing department next door. I wonder now, at the lack of training of us, the surety that the information about tractor-trailer parts in Cimarron, Kansas was importantly publishable. I’m still not sure who read these heavy volumes, issued by the hands of undervalued city girls, tapping out abbreviations of farming machines. We were kind of a machine ourselves. I am less sure how this corporation was in business. When it became clear that the history of a Kansas town named Cimarron was much more interesting than what I was supposed to be doing, and that I was writing poems with the names of the towns, Duboistown, Medicine Bow, Grenada, that my days at Thomas Publishing, Inc. were numbered.


I carried two or three jobs at any given time during my program work at Fordham University, working as a tutor, in the offices of financial aid and security while I studied full time. I duly visited the Career Services department and poured through the job listings available. Unfortunately, if there was career advisement taking place through the department, it was not made known. My professors were generous and encouraged my classmates and me in our work in their courses. The jobs I got were usually in higher education, waitressing and house cleaning. The strange, Bartlebyish job at Thomas, Inc., was gained through a New York Times ad. More happily, I found a job as an English as a Second Language teacher at a language school, also through the Times. That teaching job led me to another teaching job, a teaching fellow at my CUNY program. I am grateful for this experience, and hope to explore it in the future.


Career service networks and recruitment modules are still a bit puzzling to me. At my workplace, I collaborate with other staffers and students to develop activities and networks that we believe will support conversation about looking for the next step up. We rely on the official department of our parent school to work directly with our students. I compare the experiences of my students with my own. As a liberal arts and social science leaning thinker, I’ve learned how to look for myself, and represent my own work to potential employers, somewhat. I’m no longer the vague office girl, window shopping at lunch. Now, my work at a labor school with adult students, nurtures and pushes me along. I’m the one getting a real education, working with striving and politically active people who wear about five different hats at the same time: employee, parent, daughter/son, community member, union member, civic participator. And maybe, that is the real story here.

My first job after college

Today’s administrators and policy makers, advocates of remediation reform, and acceleration initiatives, would have considered me a liability when I was a college student. After reading about how Sara Palin transferred six times in six years and how negatively her choices reflect on the colleges she attended, and her own learning abilities, my own meandering through college would not be appreciated today.  I started college in 2000 and graduated in 2008, with multiple transferring in between. I liked taking all the classes, but I finally figured out that I wanted to work for and revive the labor movement. While still a student, I started to look through the Union Clearinghouse’s website every day, sifting through job openings that wanted labor organizers down south. In retrospect, I should have went. But I didn’t. I stayed in N.Y. and took a job as a reading/writing tutor at Kingsborough.


I had no intention of staying there long, and definitely no intention of teaching. I just couldn’t see myself in front of a classroom and I wasn’t interested in doing much more than the minimal 20 hours the center offered us. I went on other interviews in the meantime. Mostly looking for writing jobs—Once, I went on an interview to be a grant writer (I’d never written a grant in my life, but I believed I could pull it off if I read one good model—Ha!). The director of the program was willing to hire me, but I asked to see a grant proposal. He came back to the oval table and placed a heavy binder with about 400 pages in front of me and said “Here. Take a look.” I decided immediately–nope, wasn’t going to write grants. So I went back to the writing center, graduated, and then took a job as a Non-teaching adjunct at Queensborough’s writing center facilitating CUNY writing test workshops.


This was my first job out of college, although I was still working as a tutor at Kingsborough. I started looking at job postings at different CUNYs. I kept hearing my old professors say “CUNY likes CUNY.” When I went for the interview, I had already been working with large groups and classes on daily basis, and creating my own supplemental activities and lessons, so when I went in for the interview with QCC Writing Center directors, they asked me to take a writing exam, and then welcomed me into their teach-to-the-test training sessions and a sweeter pay check.

They had pretty strong staff support, with regular scheduled training and development sessions. So while I was facilitating writing workshops, I was also learning how to score standardized writing exams, develop and learn new teaching strategies, and build some of my own pedagogy.

I worked with QCC for about four years before I found a full time teaching position. Much of what I learned facilitating workshops and participating staff development sessions actually informed my first teaching practices and set the foundation to build on.

I do still plan on working for labor once I finish grad school.

My Last Job After College

My first big job came before I graduated college, maybe in spite of graduating college.

Working summers in my father’s store-front print shop, I learned a lot about typesetting, printing, images and pages. But I also consumed too many books and movies about intrepid reporters, hot scoops and stop-the-presses.

In April of my junior year of high school, I wrote a letter to a little local newspaper saying that I would do anything to be a writer, a reporter, un journaliste! I’d wash windows, scrub floors, fetch coffee — anything to be near the newsroom. It turns out that just then little local newspapers were  buying their own publishing computers, and they needed somebody who knew about typesetting and printing, images and pages. I got to write stories from time to time, but I really loved making all the new computer gear clackety-clack in harmony.

It was very high tech, a half-dozen years before the IBM and Apple PCs. There were no video screens or disk drives. We punched out news copy onto paper tape along with program code and ran it through refrigerator-sized computers that would expose the pages onto film. I worked a 40-hour week through the end of high school, getting extra credit in English class for my tales from the newsroom.

College was tough because my family never had a lot of money — or anyone who’d ever gotten beyond twelfth grade. My first college loan included $1,200 to pay off my Catholic school tuition so the good fathers would give me my diploma which landed a small scholarship to St. John’s University.

I worked my way through two years at St. John’s by freelancing nights at small computer typesetting start-ups all over Manhattan, learning everybody’s code and seeing the best and the worst bosses side by side. Then I got a big job at a sizzling hot computer start-up, but it had to be days, so I transferred to the New School for Social Research where most classes were after 4:00 pm.

There weren’t a lot of computer science classes in those days. I took one programming course in COBOL, an ancient accounting language, but my tray of punched cards wouldn’t run at the NYU mainframe lab where the New School borrowed computer time. Nobody was a computer expert in the beginning. We were all learning on the job, making things up as we went along. Great mistakes were made, but so were great breakthroughs … and great paydays.

The sizzling hot computer start-up took off, bringing national recognition, more paydays plus a couple more start-ups.  Along the way, I finished college and got my degree, but they had to mail it because I was traveling on business during graduation.

I’m happy I got my BA. I think it made me a better thinker and speaker, but it’s hard to track the skills learned in the classroom into daily life. The New School then was a hot bed of post-structuralism with those French criminals Foucault and Derrida, and I’m glad I graduated just ahead of the horrors of critical theory and identity politics that have so defiled the academy.

Four years after my New School degree, I walked out of that sizzling hot job to start my own research and consulting business. I never worked a straight job again, but I did hire a lot of college graduates.

Jack Powers

Career Services at UT Austin, the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School

Since 2014, Gallup in partnership with Purdue University and the Lumina Foundation has been surveying key issues in career services for bachelors degree students. In the Gallup-Purdue Index Report for 2016, about half of graduates nationwide report they visited their college’s career services department, but only 17% said they found the visit very useful.

The Gallup report analyzes responses by socio-economic status, family status and college major, but the overall impression is of wide variations in the effectiveness of career services departments.

Looking at three schools that I have some experience with, there seem to be three categories of career services delivery: student-centered services; learning community orientation; and employer-focused services.

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is a large, pubic research university with a diverse student population.  UT Career Services, for example in the undergraduate College of Natural Sciences, offers extensive web resources for key elements of career development:

  • Career Exploration
  • Career Discovery Videos
  • Company and Job Research
  • Resume Writing
  • Interviewing Tips

The Career Services Department organizes subject area career events and posts a page for employers to contact the school.

London School of Economics and Political Science

While UT Austin serves up generous megabytes of information and advice to undergraduates, the London School of Economics (LSE) Career Site adds greater depth and detail on dozens of employment sectors, and plugs students into ongoing activities and events like:

  • Faculty talks
  • Research reports
  • Department and institute events
  • Continuing ed workshops
  • Alumni meet-and-greets
  • Charity events

News from organizations in the LSE sphere of influence is combined with networking opportunities and  a live feed of jobs in each sector. There is even an extensive entrepreneurship section with advice and contacts for students who want to be their own boss after graduation.

Harvard Business School

LSE’s broad spectrum of disciplines, alumni and employer connections and global reach give the impression that graduates become forever part of the extended LSE family. With a more limited focus and an enrollment of just 1,859 students, the MBA program at Harvard Business School (HBS) offers Career Development Resources that include “more than 50 trained career coaches … available to work one-on-one with you along every step of your career trajectory.”

With statistics, publication reports and alumni networking, Harvard carefully enhances its brand to show that HBS graduates are part of the global capitalist elite. Employers are invited to “Enhance Your Employer Brand” by signing up to partner with student clubs, collaborate on projects and gain access for posting job ads and sponsoring recruiting events.

These world-class educational institutions spend considerable time and effort connecting students to careers. Schools that don’t pay this kind of attention to what happens after graduation will find it hard to compete for motivated students.

Jack Powers






My first job (Alvaro)

I did my undergraduate studies in Chile. I studied the equivalent of an American bachelor’s degree in Arts (although it was a 5-year program) with a concentration in music theory -a program where future employment was not a priority. During my undergraduate years I did some paid teaching assistantships. However, I will not count those experiences as my first job. My first proper job came to me through circumstances that were unrelated to my specific program of studies.

In my undergraduate senior year I became deeply involved with the work of the student union. I was elected President of the student union of my school, then I was voted to be part of the board of the University’s student union, and finally I was elected President of the University’s student union. In the meantime, I started a second bachelor’s degree in Arts with a concentration in music composition, but never completed it. I recount here my time in the student union because that experience was key in my subsequent professional life. It helped me both to get my first job after college and -more importantly- to develop a set of skills that has allowed me to perform all the professional roles that I have subsequently had. Regarding my professional life, I must say that my undergraduate extracurricular activities were more relevant than the curriculum itself.

After finishing my one-year term as President of the student union, the following elected board hired me as the person responsible for the cultural activities of the union. The student union of this 30,000-students University had a building which included a theater and a visual arts gallery. As part of my professional tasks, I was in charge of programming cultural activities in both spaces (theater, music, and dance performances; visual arts exhibitions, forums, etc.). My job also included to organize artistic activities in all five University’s campuses that were spread throughout Chile’s capital city. Two periods of time that were particularly busy were the freshmen welcome week (in March), and what we called “Cultural Caravan”. The latter, conceived as part of the University’s service toward the community, consisted in a tour of students-artists (from the School of Arts) that visited several Chilean cities and towns during the southern hemisphere summer. In a year, we could organize over 100 different performances. I was the head of a small team of 3 people (including myself), and I reported to the students union’s board. During this time I also learned about stage lighting. From time to time I designed, installed, and operated the lights for music shows.

I was offered this job due to my background as an arts student, but particularly because of the skills that the student union helped me to develop. Among them: leadership, organizational management, and budget management. Since I have already worked for two years in the student union (as an elected member of the board), the transition to my first paid job was easy and smooth. I already had a relationship with the staff (secretaries and other personnel), I knew the inside mechanisms of the students union, and I was familiar with and savvy about its internal politics. I also understood the different channels of communication and coordination between the student union and the University’s authorities / leadership. Considering all these points, I can say that I felt fairly well-prepared to assume this job.  

This first job lasted only one year (which was the time that each students union’s board lasted). However, it greatly influenced my subsequent professional career. I stayed in the field of arts production, working as an independent producer, for the next 6 or 7 years. I specialized in the production of music, theater, and dance performances. I became an expert in the process of applying to public funds devoted to the arts, and in the management of public-funded artistic projects. I specialized in organizing tours with theater and dance companies, and with music bands. That job allowed to visit most of my country, Argentina, Brazil, six European countries, Japan, and China. I also worked as a stage lighting technician. I was never again hired to be in charge of a cultural space (like a theater, for example), but I was part of an artistic collective named “Project Icaro”. We rented a space and offered cultural activities. For a year I was a volunteer (unpaid) programming director of that space.

After 6 or 7 years of working in that field, for a number of reasons I decided to make my first big career change. I was offered an administrative position in the University of Chile (the main public university of the country and my alma mater). The position was in the Department of Undergraduate Studies, part of the Vice Presidency of Academic Affairs, working in matters related to university-wide curricular and pedagogical reforms. I thus entered the higher education field as a practitioner in an administrative position, at a university-wide level, and with a teaching-centered focus. From there I initiated a personal transformative process characterized by learning and change. Learning on-the-job and through formal degrees (master’s degree in higher education pedagogy and my current doctoral degree in higher and postsecondary education); change of jobs (promotions within U. of Chile; change from the University to the Chilean Ministry of Education) and of country of residence (from Chile to the US).

My First Job(s)-Ben

It was not until I had already been out of university for several months that I sought out the small, and isolated, career services building-positioned slightly off campus, down the end of a tree-lined street that seemed, by its very nature, to signal something along the lines of a “fresh start.” It was early Fall. I had recently returned from a trip throughout the better part of Europe. I was waiting tables at a Lebanese restaurant by the room I rented for $150/month. Things were superficially fine, garmented in the pretend trappings of apathy which, privately unbuttoned, gave way to a feeling both vast and microscopic: that of underuse.

A currently enrolled student met me at the front desk of the service center with a general questionnaire. Pushing aside a stack of alumni magazines, she directed me to sit on a canvas couch, the room lit by fluorescents, and complete the form-now attached to a bulky plastic clipboard emblazoned with the name of the university in question. There was a short wait. There was a short walk down a short hall. And there was a short chat with an administrator. I went home and edited my resume.

A few months later I was still waiting tables. Thinking I would be a professional baker I had taken a job at a popular coffee house making scones. I was not prepared for the task outside of my sharp interest in the food network and, movingly slowly through motions of a baker’s life, was casually fired three months after I was hired. Not being able to return to the Lebanese spot, I took a job at a diner, got fired two days after the start of my first new year out of school, and then took another job at an Italian restaurant. This, for whatever reason, is what I consider to be my first “job” out of college.

Although I spent nights scanning career generating and building sites, with little idea of what I actually wanted to “do”, I fell into the strange routine of doing just enough. I was, very much so, a wait-er. Having little planned, and conceiving of the entire ordeal as buying time toward the big time-whatever that may have been in thought or dream or lack of action- I did accidentally learn a bit. For one, my interpersonal skills were put to the daily test, forcing me to agilely maneuver between a varied, and consistently disgruntled, customer base and a boss- both who would hear none of it. Their firm and continued skepticism- “are you sure?” “did the customer really say that?” “did you actually put in that order?”-left me with the ability to impersonally focus in the midst of being vetted and the mindset to not follow up after a grievance without first checking the evidence of said grievance (useful for a teacher, I think).

Outside of this, I wasn’t particularly stimulated on an intellectual level and sort of kicked about when the restaurant was empty, writing phony Yelp reviews here and there for a couple of extra bucks on the side (an activity I liked quite a good deal, creating a series of characters who now, for whatever reason, have garnered quite a following across restaurant boards in one intentionally unnamed small New Jersey suburb). When not working I continue to update my Monster profile or my Linkedin or scan Craigslist, or-well-you get the picture. I did get the rare interview here and there but, entirely devoid of professional experience, I was usually turned down in the second round of the review proceedings. Once, at a particularly grim taupe-colored call center I even experienced such a sharp sensation of existential dread that I had to immediately remove myself from the premises to laugh, mimicking the cliched actions of a tragic character about to fall. In short, I was privileged, uninformed, broke, and in search of even the thinnest slice of pale meaning.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email from a former college professor asking I’d like a part-time job working as an AVID instructor Advancement Via Individual Determination) Tutor in the New Jersey Public School System. I accepted and found that I truly enjoyed the process of teaching, of taking a student who may lack even the initial foundation for embracing the subject knowledge, harnessing his or her potential, and then following up to ensure his or her commitment to the task at hand. About two to three months in I applied to a graduate program in education and was accepted. It was a grueling process to acclimate myself to the life of the average public school teacher. I was and, in some ways, remain unprepared. Yet, I figured and continue to figure it out-no help from career services or alumni networks had.