Responses to Ephblog Questions

Which experiences at Williams would you like to take with you, be they educational, interpersonal, community-oriented, etc., so that those parts of your life will be part of your next steps?
Honor Committee. There is no responsibility quite so great as when which eight students control, to some extent, the near future of someone's life - if they have to make up a course, or if they might be suspended. There isn't much outside accountability for Honor Committee - we students receive advice from faculty and the Dean, but ultimately the call is ours. My honor experiences, in making deciding votes in both directions, have made me much more comfortable with less consequential decisions - I can look at a problem, make a good call, and go on with my life much more easily now. Nothing teaches responsibility like responsibility.

Storytime. I've always been a fan, but I think there's something authentic and unique in the trust of that space - hopefully, I can inspire something like it later.

And then there are the countless experiences with difference - people who have different customs or ideas, and navigating our distinctions and similarities.
How might that relate to searching for work and finding what you’d like to do, or a workplace you’d like to be part of?
Hard to say, especially initially. Williams has helped to make me a better person, but I don't feel like I've gained many occupation-specific skills here, which was probably the point.
CS 134 anyone?
Taking it right now and loving it....kinda wish I had gone for this class freshman year; I might (??) have double-majored....

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Current Events

When I was born, there was no internet to spread word of protests in the middle east; no internet to see live video on demand of a wave of water overwhelming Japan's water walls. There was no Facebook, no Google, no Blogspot.

Yet now these things are a part of my everyday life, so much so that I cannot imagine a time in college without them. What would Williams be - could Williams be - without cell phones to help us find each other as schedules shift, or web-resources that make directory information so accessible?

But the image to the top right confirms that which history tells us - this world has always been interconnected, whether on the tendrils of a tsunami wave reaching by oceans or by the diseases carried by foreign armies that wrecked havoc on native populations (ahem-Amherst!-cough). But now we know and see it - a random dude looking at a rainbow and Zach Anner show us that, as we spend a cognitive surplus seeking hours and hours of free dynamic entertainment via screens.

And then disaster strikes. Tsunami, cyclone, hurricane, epidemic, tornado, earthquake, blizzard: simply living has never been safe (though I live in a pretty calm part of the world for this stuff), and we never know when each gallon of drinking water will become invaluable. Life on a Japanese Street was completely ordinary until the water swept through.

I worry, sometimes, that we're living in that sort of moment, that an oncoming environmental disaster will truly push us back in years to come, to an era where these were the true good ole' days, but then I remember the incalculable human spirit - that we can accomplish wonders, sometimes, even in the midst of horror. That courage is possible in the face of death and despair.

And so, we move onwards with our lives,waiting until the next crisis comes to us, and hoping that we might be equal to it. I don't know if any of this makes sense - its pretty late - but the upshot is that I think things will always happen, and I'm glad to have an education that will help prepare me to deal with many of them.

Questions from Ephblog

When Senior Mom e-mailed me, I wasn't too sure if I wanted my words back on Ephblog's front page, but given that I would have answered anyone else's questions, it seemed unfair to single one blog out.

What career paths are you considering?
Williams has been very good at showing me what I'm good at (innovating policies and practices in pursuit of some goal, listening to people, making decisions responsibly, enabling others to pursue their goals by connecting them to resources, learning the intricacies of an organization and leveraging that knowledge for good, helping people, keeping confidentiality) and what I'm bad at (stepping back and getting perspective during moments of focus, saying what I mean without communication foul-ups, stressing out with incorrect feelings it's all on me, getting enough sleep). Unfortunately, none of this points to a clear career path.

At the present moment I want to end up doing some sort of governmental work. I believe that technology offers a huge opportunity to increase efficiency and reduce the costs of governmental administration, but only if those policies are pursued with intelligence, and I want to be someone who raises different ideas and possibilities that allow our governments to do a better, cheaper job, especially for a citizen with a grievance but little institutional knowledge of the body s/he must appeal to. All of the potential of technology disappears if people don't use a system's capabilities.
If all of that indicates a clear occupation, I would appreciate knowing what that is, because I surely haven't a clue. :P

What are some of the job options you feel would contribute to this path?
Some possibilities include lawyering, or working in fed/state/local gov't. But those are guesses.

Dream job?
I think being a federal inspector general would be amazing, as long as I was working in a cooperative agency with a strong initial culture of ethics. There are all sorts of horror stories to be read about experiences of whistle-blowers in some of the more problematic environments.

What's your first priority - where you want to live, or what you intend to do?
What I want to do is much more important, at least initially. However, the internet can be a temptation: we think that Skype and co enable strong and lasting connections, but my practical experience indicates that proximity is still very important. I would hope to end up back in my hometown at some point - I have too many roots in Atlanta and Washington's allure may not be that strong.

Job Fairs?
A few, they were helpful experience in conversations and such, but I haven't seen much to pique my own interests.

Has the Alumni Association played any part in your career planning?
Not beyond the career mentor network, which has been helpful in terms of advice.

Any particular mentors you'd like to talk about?
At Williams? Not particularly. I've appreciated my mentors because unlike my peers, they have offices I can wander into, but I don't know if they've been particularly helpful career-wise.

Are personal connections proving particularly valuable?
Not really. I value each of the contacts Williams has provided, but "particularly valuable" for a senior equals "provided direct job-help," which hasn't happened.

How valuable has your Williams degree proven thus far, in preparing you and in opening doors?
 I would say that my experience indicates that the Williams name is very valuable in some fields (esp. when a firm sells itself by saying its staff all went to top-tier schools), and has gotten me a few neat interviews via the OCC, but certianly isn't everything.

How do your cohorts seem to be faring in their job searches?
The only people who talk about it are those who have jobs, so my only impression is that I'm the last to get a job, which obviously isn't true. Most consulting/banking stuff was done with in the fall, and grad schools decisions are coming now. Each field has a time of heavy hiring.

Do you have plans for an advanced degree?
MPP/MPA, mayyyyyybe JD, but I think we have too many lawyers and that a good LSAT score does not a happy law school experience (or wise law degree) make, despite how much I enjoyed Mock Trial.

Any musings about the fact that you will soon be leaving Williams?
This spring has been about handing over responsibility: explicitly handing over my slight powers over Goodrich and the Bell Tower, charging underclassmen to continue some of my efforts, and passing on the knowledge I've gained (and storing it, for the next freshman who procrastinates by reading archival documents). The reality of leaving, though, hasn't really set in. Williams is obviously something that I will appreciate more in absence - we only notice the mountians when they no longer surround us, and the people who are no longer nearby.
Then again, I've had my time in the petri dish and there are '15s out there who need a college to call home. I'm proud of what I've done here, and will gladly take my leave to allow them their own Williams experience.