20something profile: Andrew
My name is Andrew, and I graduated college at 22 years of age. I majored in International Affairs and received my Bachelor’s of Arts from Northeastern University in May of 2012. Many people have told me that International Affairs, in comparison to majors like Computer Science and Engineering, is not as demanding. Many people with a science-based curriculum have also told me that International Affairs is a walk in the park.
For me, International Affairs turned out to be more of a brisk jog to the airplane than merely a walk in the park. I rushed to the airport to board flights departing for Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. With a regional focus on the Middle East, traveling there was one of my degree requirements. I also chose to study and learn Arabic so that I could engage with locals in the countries I was traveling to.
The motivation I had to mold my curriculum in such a way was to enhance my résumé for particular government jobs in the future. Although the effects of traveling to the Middle East for months at a time and learning to speak Arabic helped broaden my understanding of global politics, I was primarily driven to take on those projects in order to make myself a better candidate for a full-time job after I graduated.
My experience as an undergrad allowed me to intern with the Defense Intelligence Agency for six months. I received a Top Secret Security Clearance and was granted access to secret compartmental information. I was 21 years old when I started working on counter terrorism problem sets at the agency’s headquarters.
It was an exhilarating experience, and to say I learned a lot is an understatement. At the very least, my experience interning with an intelligence agency enhanced my résumé more than I ever expected. At the most, my experience working with them was going to solidify my return to the agency as a full-time employee after I graduated.
I graduated in May after finishing my last study abroad trip to Lebanon — a trip that lasted 5 months. In the last two months of my trip, I attempted to reconnect with people who I worked with as an intern to express my willingness to come back as a full-time employee. I was told that I was one of the top candidates to be hired for full-time employment, and the evaluation I received as an intern would make certain that there would be a place for me after I graduated.
After hearing this, I was flattered and ready to get back to work! With all the talk of a bad economy, media coverage of slow job growth, and hearing some horror stories about college friends of mine searching for work, this was good news for me.
Where am I now? Well, I have been at home, living with my parents for almost two months. I picked up a part-time job at a restaurant at a local mall as a server while I have applied to over 400 jobs online. I have received about four responses from different companies who want to schedule interviews with me.
I have also remained in contact with people I met from my internship who are trying to get me back in. Supposedly, there are endless formalities, and it will take time for me to return regardless of government-related sloth. If I learned one thing throughout this process, it’s that networking with capable and experienced people (the who-you-know side of this equation) is the best way to land a job.