My name is Valerie Slade and I am one of the Career Development Ambassadors at the Center for Career Development. I am an English major from Scottsdale, Arizona and am the chair of Adopt a Grandparent and a bartender on campus.
One of the most exciting tools available to Davidson students through the Center for Career Development is the interview preparation feature on CareerBeam. I know that many students—including myself—struggle to prepare for interviews. I often find myself wondering if I make enough eye contact or smile too often. CareerBeam’s interview tool allows a student to videotape himself giving an interview, and then watch the video back in order to see what he does well or can improve upon. It’s great that students have the opportunity to gain confidence and poise prior to a real interview. There’s no such thing as too much practice!
This summer I decided to forsake the Arizona heat (even though it’s just a dry heat) and stay in Davidson. After spending the fall semester in Edinburgh, Scotland, I wanted the opportunity to spend a bit more time in North Carolina before graduating. During the day, I worked in the Office of Academic Affairs—my primary job was editing the Davidson College Catalog but I also had the opportunity to do some miscellaneous tasks that allowed me to learn about the inner-workings of the college. Did you know that Chambers has an attic? Did you know that the Physics Department has something called a laser lab? Well, I certainly didn’t.
Outside of work in Academic Affairs, I created the Wildcat Handbook—an insider’s guide to life at Davidson for incoming first-year students. While I had some prior publishing experience from a previous internship, it was refreshing to have complete editorial and creative control over a project. I also learned that constructing an interesting and engaging 65-page handbook using only two colors is more difficult than it looks! The Wildcat Handbook went to print in mid-July, and like many Davidson students, I found myself with too much free time on my hands and became anxious to begin a new project. I began a sort of virtual internship with a Davidson alumna who works in Charlotte as an independent book editor. She emailed me manuscripts to read over and edit for everything from plot cohesion, to character development, to spelling. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn more about what goes into making a book ready for publication, because I hope to work in book publishing in some capacity after graduation. Reading some of the rough, first-round manuscripts truly made me appreciate the talent necessary to write a novel in a way that I had never really considered before.
I wouldn’t necessarily call my summer relaxing, but I gained valuable experience while getting to enjoy a beautiful, albeit rainy, North Carolina summer. Now that school has started up, I am excited to begin work as a Career Development Ambassador and help other students further their career goals!