Saints Employing Saints

Gibson Drysdale
Class of: 

I have less than 30 days until my graduation, but who’s counting? There are many reasonable emotions a college senior will feel at this point of the year. Sadness over knowing you’ll have to leave the place you’ve called home for much of your last four years, and the friends you’ve made there. Disbelief that it all really could’ve gone by so quickly. Excitement over the prospect of starting a new exciting chapter of life in the so-called “real world.” I can say I’m certainly feeling all of these and then some, but one emotion is noticeably missing: panic. This is primarily because I have had a job lined up since before this school year even started. Let me back up.

During the fall of my junior year, I was doing what most of my peers were doing, or at least would over the next several months: scour the internet, LinkedIn, and SLU’s Career Services website for internships to apply for. On a day in October, I received an email with the subject Jobs and Internships - Multiple Fields. The email contained information about internship and job opportunities at Prudential Financial Inc., and that Jenifer Walden ’89, P’18, an HR director at the company, was looking to refer SLU students for various positions throughout the company. I found some internship programs in technology and finance and expressed my interest in an email I sent her, attaching a copy of my resume. Then I waited.

Around this same time, I also found out that I had been accepted to study in Denmark for the upcoming spring semester and I desperately wanted to avoid having to do interviews for internships while I was there.

A few weeks later, I answered a call from an unknown New Jersey phone number, during which I found out I had been offered an interview in Prudential’s Individual Life Insurance, Jenifer’s own department. I made the trip from my home in Somers, N.Y., to the office in Roseland, N.J., where I met with Jenifer and several other people. A week or so later, I received another call offering me a Big Data development internship in Prudential’s ILI Technology department. Queue excitement, anticipation, and relief.

Fast forward nine months to August 2016, after my semester in Denmark and nine-and-a-half weeks into my 10-week internship, I find myself in an office with Jenifer and the head of ILI Tech, offering me a full-time position for after I graduate, which I accepted a few weeks later. Now, I’d be able to come back to campus for my entire senior year knowing I didn’t have to worry about job hunting.

All of this because an alumna decided she wanted to help some St. Lawrence students get their feet in the door for opportunities. While my individual situation is relatively unique, and admittedly somewhat lucky, these kinds of connections are extremely common here. Former Saints out in all different industries across the country and world are always looking to give back to the school they still feel strongly connected to, and those entering the workforce from it.

St. Lawrence does such an amazing job creating a close-knit community on campus, and alumni take this bond with them out into the world. Recently I attended an event that brought admissions staff, alumni of all ages, and newly accepted students together. I got to talk to people who graduated SLU as far back as the sixties and seventies, and as recently as 2015, and without having ever met them before they were genuinely interested in me, my experience at SLU, and my plans for the future. It made me even more excited to join this amazing alumni network, and hopefully be able to offer opportunities to future Laurentians down the road.

SLU’s Career Services staff members are dedicated to putting students in contact with alumni, like with the Shadow-a-Saint, LINC, and SLU Connect programs, among others. So, if you’re a current student, go to Career Services and start finding out how to make the most of the network.

If you’re an alum, thank you so much for your dedication to improving the futures of the students here.

And if you’re a prospective student who is looking at St. Lawrence as a potential place to spend your college years, give us a chance. Our alumni network is one of a kind and you would be doing the rest of your life a favor by taking advantage of it.