At St. Lawrence, faculty, staff, and alumni use a common refrain when talking with current students about preparing for a rewarding career—“it’s never too early to start.” The Sophomore Career Boot Camp, offered through the Career Connections office, is just one initiative that supports this philosophy.
“There are a number of benefits to doing a program like this during students’ sophomore year,” says director of Career Connections Geoff Falen. “This experience helps students gain clarity on their academic and career interests, introduces them to professional development activities earlier so they can continue to develop throughout their time at St. Lawrence, and develops skills in networking and self-presentation that will benefit them as they continue to engage with the Laurentian Community.”
On January 16, a total of 84 students returned from winter break early to take part in this year’s two-day boot camp. A schedule of both in-person and virtual workshops and sessions made it possible for students on campus and off to join.
Katrina Randall ’24, an psychology major and sports studies and exercise science minor from Hanover, N.H., enrolled in Sophomore Bootcamp hoping for both clarity on her overarching career interests and guidance on the foundational tools and skills she’ll need to start carving out her professional path—like how to create a LinkedIn profile or start building a resume.
“The sophomores that took part in this boot camp now have more tips and tricks as they prepare to enter the workforce,” she says.
In addition to resume development sessions, tips on how to identify internships and secure funding, a workshop on navigating cultural diversity and inclusion in the workplace, sessions on planning for graduate school, and advice on incorporating off-campus study into their four-year plans, students had ample opportunities to connect with members of St. Lawrence’s top-ranked alumni network. A total of 43 Laurentians, including parents and alumni, helped make the event possible. Their professional experience spanned industries from healthcare to finance to government, nonprofit, and advocacy work.
“There were also panels where students heard from young alumni about their experiences in the job and graduate school immediately after graduation, the reality of job-searching and moving during COVID, as well as how they’ve navigated the benefits and challenges of life after St. Lawrence,” says Falen.
Though still exploring her passions, Katrina is leaning toward a career in mental health counseling. The most valuable part of her boot camp experience was the opportunity to meet with alumni currently working in the field she’s curious about pursuing.
“I met with education and counseling professionals and got to ask them questions. I gained a better understanding of what St. Lawrence opportunities I should utilize, what daily life looks like for professionals in these fields, and what they recommend for future internships,” she says.
Now, Katrina can use the next two and half years to explore possible career paths with confidence and capitalize on the support of Laurentians on and off campus.
“This opportunity helped clarify my career-related goals. I am going to investigate internships relating to counseling or working with kids this summer,” she says. “Many alumni emphasized the importance of experience, so I want to continue building my resume with experiences that will be beneficial to my future career.”