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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

The Hunt Is On: Dartmouth Upperclassmen’s Search for Employment

One writer investigates how upperclassmen approach the search for jobs and internships.

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Spring term has just begun, but for students still looking for a job or internship, it might feel as though summer is quickly approaching. In addition to graduating seniors, many Dartmouth juniors pursue summer internships to gain experience, earn a bit of extra cash or fill their newly acquired free time. For students searching for employment, the pressure to lock down an opportunity can continue to grow as summer looms. 

Alexis Loveraz ’25 said his status as a first-generation student poses unique challenges for finding internships. First-gen students, for example, might have trouble figuring out a career path when they first enter college, he said. 

“A lot of [first-generation students] don’t know what they want to do,” Loveraz said. “A lot of people can have their parents tell them what to do and what to prepare themselves for … [First-generation students] don’t know … what exactly interests us. That causes us to push the internship focus until our junior year.” 

Loveraz added that sophomore summer — a term when many sophomores remain on campus taking classes — places an even greater emphasis on finding junior year internships.

Eunice Antwi ’25, who said she plans to attend medical school after graduation, added that there is more pressure on juniors to find internship opportunities than on freshmen and sophomores. This dynamic stems from the prospect of post-graduation return offers, which can sometimes follow junior summer internships, according to students. 

“Even though I’m not searching for an internship [that] would lead to post-grad employment, I know a lot of my peers are doing that,” Antwi said. “Summer is a make-or-break for a lot of [these] people.”

Antwi added that competition also contributes to stress. When students see the internships peers have scored, it can increase the pressure on students to land a prestigious or impressive offer themselves, she said. Students then may feel like they are falling behind if they do not meet the standard that their peers have set, she explained. 

Seniors looking for post-grad opportunities grapple with a similar burden. Ben Chen ’24, who graduates in June and is currently searching for a job, said there is more pressure to find employment at a school as prestigious as Dartmouth. 

“It’s stressful because Dartmouth is a very high achieving school, and everyone expects you … to know what you’re going to do in your next stage of life,” Chen said. “I’m a senior who is about to graduate in two months, and I have not figured out what I’m going to do. And that’s definitely a stressful place to be.”

In addition to the stress of securing employment, some students also struggle to find internships that fit their professional goals. Loveraz said he primarily looks for internships that will allow him to gain experience, ideally within the UI/UX design field.

“Other factors, like salary-based hourly rate, [are also things that] I do take into consideration,” he said. “At the end of the day, those shouldn’t really matter because the experience is what matters the most.”

Antwi said she is constrained by her need for affordable housing as she looks for summer research opportunities. 

“I’m from St. Louis, Missouri, so going out of state [for research] posed a problem of housing because one issue with research, a lot of times, is that it’s not paid,” she said.

To ease stress before junior summer, Loveraz said freshmen and sophomores should prioritize getting involved on campus to help them discover their passions.

“Involving yourself into communities at Dartmouth could definitely help you see what you will want to do in the future,” he said. “Just trying anything out is better than hiding away from it.”

Chen also stressed the importance of following your own goals rather than societal expectations.

“Pursue things that you’re actually interested in, and not because society has some kind of metric or idea of what should be successful and what’s not successful,” he said. “Follow your passions and let that lead to something that’s successful.”