Logan Dobson: Campus leaders, unemployed graduates

Writing a resume can be an extremely enlightening experience. Believe me, I would know; many of my fellow graduating seniors can relate to the seemingly endless amount of writing, editing and rewriting of resumes that has occurred in our lives over the past few months.

It’s odd to try to encapsulate your entire life in one page. No matter how big you make the margins, how small you make the font, or how creative you are in spacing, you’re going to need to make some tough choices about what you put in and what you take out. For me, the most illuminating thing has been that the activities I put so much time into here at GW are among the least important things on my resume.

See, I spent a rather long time participating in various GW activities. I had two terms as a Student Association senator, I tried and failed to become executive vice president of the SA – damn you, Rob – I was on GW Housing Programs staff and I spent the entire time blogging or writing for one campus news source or another. And the end result of all of it? Of the hours I spent in the Marvin Center, the hundreds of palm cards I handed out, the barrels of real and virtual ink I spilled analyzing campus news? It’s about five, maybe six lines on my resume.

I understand where the urge comes from to obsess over what’s going on around campus. When I was in the SA, nothing felt more important than getting my bill passed, winning an election or giving a piece of my mind to University administrators. In my time writing for The Hatchet, I’ve obsessed over the right words to describe some problem, which alternative solution should be proposed or the best way to continue giving various pieces of my mind. Come to think of it, I’m not sure how much of my mind I have left at this point, what with all the pieces I’ve given.

It’s not an easy thing to do, maintaining perspective. After all, we all came to GW for a reason: Many of us like to be involved in our community and lots of us love politics too, even on the smallest of scales. We’re drawn to campus organizations, we want to be leaders and we want to change our campus for the better. This naturally leads to the kinds of intense involvement that we have on campus, and it can blind you to the fact that the stakes are so low.

It might not sink in until you start the extremely unpleasant process of figuring out your life after graduation. You come to find that all the time you put into those on-campus activities pales in importance compared to the things you’ve done off campus. Every interview I’ve done with a prospective employer has focused significantly on my internships, my background and what my career goals are. No one has ever asked me about my time in the SA.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t be involved on campus, of course. GW needs passionate students constantly pressing it to be better than it is. But students should endeavor to keep their on-campus activities in perspective; these should not be the most important things you do in your four years. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me; possessing a wealth of campus knowledge, but utterly unemployed.

Logan Dobson, a senior majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.

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