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Finding the Answer

Mary Oliver's poem "Summer Day" begins and ends with a series of open-ended questions. As the chill in the air and the falling leaves remind us that summer is decidedly past, I can't help but return to the last of these questions, which resonates particularly with me. "Tell me," Oliver says in the closing lines of her poem. "What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" As we transition from Fall 1 to the networking-researching-informational interviewing-corporate presentation-attending-resume-revising-maelstrom of Fall2, it's a question it's safe to say we're all mulling over, in structured and unstructured ways. We spent the last six weeks of Wednesday afternoons formally discussing career-related topics (in course aptly named "Careers"); we dedicated last Friday to a CDO workshop on formatting our resumes and honing our interviewing skills; and next week, we're to turn in 1000 words outlining our career trajectory. Amidst this structured career introspection are countless less-formal but no-less-useful moments spent strategizing, comparing and reflecting with our classmates. (I long ago lost count of the number of times someone's asked me, "So what are you going to do after school?" or how many times I've volleyed the same question back, ever eager to hear how someone else is thinking about and breaking down the big decision that awaits.) One of my peers even devised a plan to help organize and schedule these casual conversations in the form of Career Development Study Groups, small industry-themed sets committed to meeting weekly to discuss and assist each other with their next career moves. To date (only 2 weeks after said proposal) some 13 "unofficial" career development groups have formed, subscribed to by more than 40 members of the first-year class. I've come to business school to answer Mary Oliver's question. Six weeks into my first year, my career path remains strewn with more question marks than periods (which will make the final Careers paper quite the creative exercise!). Nevertheless, like the seasons in New Haven, my self-awareness and career perspective are changing. Armed with new resources, new advisors (both formal and informal), and new forums in which to reflect on my options, I feel I will find my answer. And what's even better are the endless possibilities to explore at SOM for "my one wild and precious life".