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How the job market compares to a university environment

As a 2010 graduate of West Shore Jr/Sr High School’s 130-person class in Melbourne, FL, I had it made. A standout student in a small town at an even smaller school allowed for increased recognition and limited competition, both academically and in extracurricular activities. Excelling was further facilitated by the comparative ease of a high school curriculum where Advanced Placement courses did little to prepare me for college. At the end of the summer, I said goodbye to my unrealistically successful life in a pseudo-perfect beach town and set off for Duke University, fully expecting that my college acceptance had been the most strenuous part of the journey. I was positive that the next four years would be full of life-changing trips to art galleries with professors resembling Julia Roberts, fun blackjack clubs run by Kevin Spacey lookalikes and many late nights spent putting a horse in the dean’s office.

Duke, meet Lauren. Lauren, meet the most challenging, most stressful, most confidence-damaging years of your life.

Although attending a top 10 university will set me apart after graduation and has provided me with an exceptional education and incomparable opportunities, I am consistently paying my dues to be recognized amongst the best and brightest 18-21 year-olds in the world. At our freshman convocation, Duke’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions congratulated the class of 2014, pointing out its numerous virtuosos, including a refugee, a Buddhist monk, published researchers and a world champion bowling phenom, amongst several others. Immediately both impressed and intimidated, I didn’t realize until classes began that this speech would define the entirety of my Duke career. Up against the Hermione Grangers of the world, I was a Ron Weasley with much less vibrant hair. Suffering under the weight of my intense course load, I never stopped studying and hired a tutor for the first time in my life, yet was still left slack-jawed when a test was placed in front of me. As students who skipped class and barely skimmed the book aced everything they touched, I hoped to find more success in the dance program, where I had excelled during high school. Once again, I was shocked to find that my dance moves suddenly resembled Elaine’s from Seinfeld.

For a very long time, I felt lost at Duke. I was truly a little fish in a big pond with nowhere to swim.

On the verge of starting my second semester of junior year, I have finally found my niche in areas where I excel. This self-fulfillment was allowed when I finally realized that it’s okay to not be the same person I was in high school and that I’m expected to no longer be the best. I had to learn to be proud of my 10th place Brevard County spelling bee prize even though my neighbor is the Scripps National Champion. I had to learn to accept the fact that being the best in high school meant I fell somewhere in the middle at Duke. And when I finally was able to accept that working hard to do my best was the key to my success and the establishment of a secure identity, I finally achieved happiness.

My experiences as a Blue Devil are comparable to that of a potential employee in today’s job market in that we both do our best to stand out in a sea of highly qualified peers, yet our success is not always guaranteed. My collegiate achievements are in my control only to a point. I can potentially utilize every available academic resource at Duke but my fate will always be ultimately decided by an impossible test and a professor’s harsh grading. In an equivalent sense, a potential employee also has limited control of their success within the job market. They must enhance their résumé, perfect their interview skills and pray that a company decides they are a “good match”.

However, a college’s on-campus career center only provides its students with a pamphlet of tips and a counselor’s advice on the road toward a successful career. But in the job market, Kavaliro surpasses this collegiate resource by utilizing optimal employee recruiting strategies to provide potential employees with placement in a company that best matches their professional fit. Their guidance and wide-reaching national database will help any job-seeking employee land their dream job, a feat that cannot be matched within the confines of a university.

Although Duke has challenged me in ways I never thought possible, it is comforting to know that upon graduation and my admission into the real world, I’ll be in good hands. Thank you for the reassurance, Kavaliro.

Guest Author, Lauren Paylor

Kavaliro Employment Agency, has offices in Tampa, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina and Orlando, Florida and can make sure you find the right people for this important role. We are ready and waiting to help you anytime and look forward to hearing from you.

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