Alumni Are Your Friends
For me, Kenyon’s best resource is its people (nothing personal, KAC, but I’m more of a Gap Trail runner anyway). This may be an obvious statement, coming from an active member of Alpha Delta Phi, the Collegian, and Two Drink Minimum, but it extends well beyond the current student body.
Last spring, I visited the Career Development Office on a whim to see if any Kenyon alumni were working in small technology companies, because who doesn’t like networking? (Spoiler: everyone.) I found David Sheehan ’85, vice president of sales for Zipline Media, a small media software startup in New York. Zipline was looking for summer interns at the time (actually, the due date had just passed, but let’s not get into that). I reached out, chatted on Skype (as a DKE, he recognized my Old Kenyon single immediately), and was offered the position.
While I can’t really describe what I did at Zipline because of a non-disclosure policy, which is common for young companies, I was tasked with important and high-priority assignments, such as briefing the executive team on different areas of our industry. Also, one of my coworkers brought her dog into the office every day. NBD.
Interning for a Kenyon alum, along with two other awesome Kenyon students, was a fantastic experience that showed me that our community extends far beyond the boundaries of Gambier. As an incoming freshman two years ago, I did not foresee the opportunities and connections the Kenyon community would offer; now, it’s obvious that the network is invaluable and something not many places can boast.
I was reminded of that fact twice this past weekend. On Friday, the two other interns and I met up with David, who was on campus for reunion planning events, at the VI for drinks and for exchanging our greatest college stories.
On Sunday morning, post-Summer of Love (our first Ganter party of the year), I went to Peirce with some brothers for lunch. While we were enjoying some surprisingly tasty Peirce quesadillas, an alum from 1969, sitting with his friends a few tables away, abruptly stood up and asked for the attention of everyone sitting on Old Side. He encouraged us undergrads to reach out to as many alumni as possible through LinkedIn and other means for advice and guidance. While listening to an old alum give advice may possibly be the last thing a hungover college student wants to do on a Sunday morning, this time was different. He was right: Alumni are here for us, and it’s wonderful.