CELS is great and everything. Getting 3 grand of our parents’ money back from the college to fund internships, smart idea. Having a center that teaches you how to not be an asshole in an interview, certainly helpful if you have the potential of being an asshole in an interview. Having one that connects you up to the Alums that will help you into industries, genuinely valuable. But CELS is the only center that prepares us for life after college in any significant way, and it consists of seven women working in a gingerbread house. Conn has that prototypical Liberal Arts fear of pre-professional majors. I mostly agree with it. Majors like Journalism and Accounting and Mechanical Engineering do give you a narrow track that often throws theory and history and Big Picture Thinking by the wayside. (That said, we don’t have effective resources for things like Media Studies and Graphic Design, pre-professionalsounding subjects that are actually just too relevant for our traditional curriculum and mindset to know what to do with. Allison de Fren, our New Media scholar, just reached the end of her 2-year postdoc fellowship. We now have nobody who specializes in the history or cultural impact of media – let alone digital media! – on the Connecticut College faculty. But this is a subject for another day.)
What we need are centers, or at least officially appointed advisors, for all of the pre-professional paths we don’t offer. This has been put in place for Law and PreMed. Why don’t we have a business center? What if, upon leaving college, we have a great idea for a start up business? Shouldn’t we have some sort of department or presence that brainstorms with and encourages us to put those ideas into action? That tells us what microloans are and how to estimate costs and come up with a business model? Isn’t that what liberal arts is? It’s what it should be. Taking a broad view of the world, and making it applicable. We shouldn’t be expected to go on to Grad school to learn how to do that, and Math of Money sure isn’t teaching us anything but how to most effectively use a class as a study hall.
Skidmore has a business major. MIT has an Entrepreneurship Center. Conn should really be churning out less investment bankers and more young entrepreneurs, because we’re lucky enough to be part of a critical generation. We are the first generation that was raised media literate, that can profit off of knowing inherently what the generations before us can’t wrap their minds around.
Inc. is rubbing off on me, for sure, but in the end, it’s true (ask Tom Friedman) that small businesses are still the foundation of our economy and always will be. I’m writing a profile for Inc.’s annual list of 30 young entrepreneurs under 30, and some of them are 23 YEARS OLD. Modcloth, Thrillist, Mashable, Hype Machine… these businesses are not founded on unbelievably mind-boggling ideas. They’re just well-implemented good ideas with solid foundations. These kids were most often given direction and encouragement. Conn should encourage that within its student body, and remind us more often that if you can’t find a job, you can always make one.
This is what especially frustrates me about College Relations’ closed mindedness about our suggestion for a student-run offset to the Admission page [in brief: students show prospective students what they really think is important about our college, in a significant, trustworthy way, i.e. not like this]. The most successful colleges encourage creative thought in every fold. Despite my endless articles and proposals that have begged for (or strained to find) examples of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that creative thought is simply not something Conn values in any significant way.
This is heartbreaking! It also impels serious motivation for making the Voice that outlet for students. As frustrating as it is to not have the resources offered to us by our college, we still have this student-run test kitchen, where we can brainstorm, compile and attempt our ideas in the bubble, before we bring them into the real world.
A call to our potential future advertising, promotions, publishing, consulting, digital media, design CEO’s…and to the writers, artists, editors, scientists, cultural commentators, engineers, bloggers, analyzers, gum chewers you are now… when you have an idea, plz email me. We have this website and this newfound readership base, and this staff of motivated, creative, thoughtful students. I think we can do a lot together to make small ideas run in big ways that could at worst do nothing, and at best positively affect the culture of the college.
Now can someone please help me start an idea wiki.