Things You Can Do with a Kenyon Degree (Or, How I Landed My Dream Job)
"We would like to offer you a position with us," the woman said, and I nearly dropped the phone at my first job offer. "But," she continued, "Can you be ready to leave the country in a week?"
I received the call a month after graduating from Kenyon, postponing my search for long-term employment until the end of the summer. As a group leader for The Experiment in International Living, an experiential travel program for high school students, I was paid to go abroad to South Korea and mentor 13 teenagers through the start of their international education. I witnessed extraordinary growth in my students over the trip; what I wasn't expecting was a lightning-bolt moment of my own.
Studying abroad, my friends joke, is my greatest talent. After growing up in an internationally minded family, I deferred Kenyon to travel to India for a gap year, and then spent junior year abroad in Indonesia and Brazil with the School for International Training (SIT), an organization that many Kenyon students recognize. SIT and The Experiment are part of the same umbrella organization, World Learning. And wouldn’t it be brilliant, I realized in Korea, if I could work for the company that had influenced so much of my life? Not only was I experienced at traveling, I had found a workplace in which traveling was a necessary qualification.
By my return, I had applied to every open position at World Learning. I snagged a few interviews but, truthfully, I lacked the training necessary for their offices. Frustrated that nothing was suited for me, I wrote a description for a job that didn’t exist and pitched it to the organization. That's how I became the first and only social media intern for The Experiment in International Living.
Now, I manage and create content for The Experiment’s social media platforms and support the admissions team in their recruitment for next summer’s programs, which I also plan to lead. My conviction in proposing this internship drew from several components of my time at Kenyon: writing for Quintessential Kenyon, which inspired me to feature authentic student voices in The Experiment’s blog; giving tours for the admissions office, where I realized that working with prospective students energizes me; and studying anthropology, which forms my framework for understanding and explaining cultural learning.
I love the creative challenges of social marketing—finding fresh ways to communicate the inspiring stories I hear from the program’s alumni—and I appreciate how my internship confirms for me daily the importance of traveling to learn.
I never expected to find employment in traveling or social media, because I always had cast them as personal passions rather than marketable skills. But, when I wrote my own job description, I underlined the connection between enjoyment and education as the best thing I could bring to the table. I learned, coming out of Kenyon, that while I’m not yet experienced—I am more than qualified.