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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Worried about a career? Go ahead! Dive right in!

Published: October 31, 2008
Section: Opinions

There are moments in our lives when we feel paralyzed, when situations appear daunting, even insurmountable. Many seniors are expressing that very feeling when they talk about their post-graduation plans. Students have agonized, “Do I have enough time to figure out what I want to do and find a job before May?” and “How do I figure out if I want to go to graduate school; how do I apply and pay for another degree?” Many, trapped by the immobility of fear, have delayed taking any action. This need not be the case. There are circumstances, both present and past, which can guide us through this predicament.

In October, Thomas Friedman spoke on campus about his book “Hot, Flat & Crowded” which tackles the current and future implications of the environmental crisis. In his speech he quoted Amory Lovins’ eulogy for Donella Meadows, a Dartmouth-based environmental expert and writer, stating, “When asked if we have enough time to prevent catastrophe, she’d always say that we have exactly enough time—starting now.” Dr. Meadows’ words moved individuals beyond immobility, inspiring a generation of environmental researchers and advocates.

Midrash relates that during the Exodus, when the Israelites reached the Red Sea, the waters did not part for Moses. The Israelites stood trapped at the banks of the sea not knowing which way to turn, on the edge of transitioning to a new stage of development as a people. Perhaps the anxiety you are experiencing, thinking about the questions your family will ask around the Thanksgiving table about your future plans, is not dissimilar. The waters remained still until Nachshon ben Aminadav took the first step into the sea and waded up to his neck. At that moment the sea parted and he and the Israelites safely crossed. Facing a challenge, particularly one that lies in the path of creating a new life, is daunting. Taking positive action not only helps you along your path, but may also inspire others to follow.

Figuring out what to do after graduation is neither a catastrophe, nor a trap. To move forward in your decision-making process, you could start with something as simple as making an appointment at Hiatt to explore what you might want to do, or creating a resume. Or, you could attend Hiatt’s Senior on Sunday, November 16 from 1 to 5 p.m. during which you could learn how to explore possible career paths, find jobs or apply to graduate school. Visit Hiatt’s website at to learn about the resources available to you and look for Hiatt’s weekly column here in The Hoot.

Choosing a professional path or starting a full-time job search may at times seem as insurmountable as solving the environmental crisis or parting the Red Sea. You are not alone; Hiatt is here to help. If you are asking, “Do I have enough time…” or “What do I do next…” the answer is as follows: You “have exactly enough time—starting now.” Take the first step.

Andrea Dine is the Associate Director of Career Development of the Hiatt Career Center.