There are a lot of things you will need if you want to build a steady, good career. We gather these things through intentional acts of living—attending class, getting degrees, finding trusty mentors, meeting that person and going to that interview and getting that job—so as not to become stranded in a state of fixed non-growth, or even worse, possible regression.
As a student, you’re on top of things. You think you’re doing everything you can. Not only that, but you think you’re doing everything right. You study, a lot. You drink coffee, a lot. Your papers and grades are perfection. One could say you are a master of academics and self-discipline.
However, it’s not enough. Something is wrong. As it turns out, you do not meet that person and you do not go to that interview and you do not get that job. Because you lack something very important. You lack professional development. And, unfortunately, it makes sense. Your main focus for years and years has been school—not networking and resume building and interviewing techniques. You’re a student, not a corporate guru.
“I feel like graduate students a lot of the times are silent in their department,” says Sheva Guy, UC graduate student and founder of Donuts & Development, “They need to go after the things that are going to help them as a grad student and a professional, regardless of their discipline and what job they want to go into.”
The Donuts & Development professional development fair at the University of Cincinnati—hosted by the Graduate School and the CECH GSA, and happening for the second academic year in a row on September 14th in TUC 400ABC from 9-11 a.m.—is a totally free, no registration required, on-campus event dedicated to aiding in the progression of students' professional development. Donuts & Development consists of various UC offices and organizations, neatly structured in a fair-like fashion with tables and booths, all solely focused on showcasing what can be done to deepen a grad student’s growth. And, of course, there are donuts (and coffee and other pastries) for every student who stops by the event.
The attending representatives (just a snippet includes the Preparing Future Faculty Program, Career Education services, and the Academic Writing Center) provide students with professional development opportunities. And what exactly is meant by those vague but important-sounding words, professional development? Students will find a collection of networking prospects here that they literally would not be able to find anywhere else. They will learn about the vast and varied professional development opportunities available at UC. They will meet with office and organization representatives to discuss how each opportunity—workshops, classes, programs, leadership roles—could help them build critical soft skills, make new connections, and prepare them for future career paths.
This is an exercise of professional communication in its purest form. Students will be invited to put themselves out there and make lasting professional relationships that otherwise would be rather unlikely, considering that this unique event puts an immeasurable amount of talent and connection in the same room at the same time.
The message is clear: don’t be afraid to ask questions, to learn about possible job opportunities, to embody the confidence your professional persona deserves. Be willing to put in the work of networking, hold your head up high, and be open to talking to new people. Make it a point to chase what you’re after. Have the self-assurance to intentionally create progressive change in your life for the sake of your career and well-being. Meet that person and go to that interview and get that job.
And, if not for any other reason, go for the free donuts and coffee.