MAYBERRY R.F.D.- Looking Back and Looking Forward

By Anne Guldin Lucas


Most of our blog readers are probably too young to remember Mayberry R.F.D. (starring Andy Griffith and Ron Howard as a boy) on TV—unless it’s popular in reruns or in DVD collections.  Although my life wasn’t quite as hokey as it was for the characters in Mayberry, the 60s were indeed simpler times.  In my neighborhood, on summer evenings we literally sat on our porches playing cards, and drinking root beer floats or lemonade.  (Personally I never did care for Cherry Coke.)

Last weekend a longtime friend and his family visited us as they were passing through our area.  So please excuse me if this Baby Boomer becomes a bit nostalgic.  I promise there’s a point that will eventually relate to careers (sort of).

My friend arrived with his wife and the youngest of his three children—a 12-year-old daughter.  When my friend and I were twelve, we were neighbors, school mates, and members of the same swim team.  So we spent a lot of time together in our youth.  Since this friend and I have never lived in the same location since our college summers, it still feels strange to see him as an adult, with a wife and family.  I remember us as the same age as his 12-year-old daughter–braces and all!  (In fact, I got my braces off on the last day of 6th grade–the12th birthday of this same friend!)

Yet here we were last weekend—adults—middle-aged ones now, with jobs and families, sitting on the terrace of my house—MY house, not my parents’ house (or porch!).  Who could have imagined that we would actually grow up into reasonably responsible adults who owned homes, held jobs, and raised families?

Aha—that’s the point!  It happens to all of us.  Whether we had a plan when we graduated from college or whether it took years and some job changes, we do eventually grow up.  Whether it’s a straight line or a crooked path, somehow, we usually find our way to a good place—to jobs we enjoy and valued relationships that are so important to a life well lived.

During the past few weeks in my office at Penn I’ve met with triumphant students who are negotiating job offers and making plans to find apartments and move to new cities.  Congratulations to those of you who fit into this category; I know you’ve worked hard.  I’ve also met with students who feel as if they are the only one without a job and a definite plan for after graduation.  I can assure you that you are not alone in this situation.  You have also worked hard, making the most of your precious time at Penn, and you deserve to celebrate Commencement just as enthusiastically as your already employed peers.

MANY Penn seniors will wait until after graduation to begin or to resume a job search.  It’s okay.  In fact, despite the presence of Career Counselor Mother (obviously not to be confused with Tiger Mother) in their lives, neither of my young adult children had jobs upon graduation or had even begun their job searches at the time they walked up on the stage for their undergraduate diplomas.  They are now both gainfully employed, living independently, and one has even earned an MBA.  Believe me—you too will visit an old friend thirty or forty years from now and realize that amazingly, you found direction in your life—and the anxiety surrounding your first post-college job search will have faded into a blurred memory.

Although I have tried repeatedly to find a magic wand and crystal ball to aid me in helping you with your career exploration and decision making, there is ultimately no magic available to make this journey easier.  There may be serendipity along the way—and I wish you a healthy dose of it.  However, I suspect it will take some work and some self-analysis for you to merge your interests, talents, and experiences into a career choice and successful job search.

Please remember that you have lots of people to support you and cheer you on as you begin or continue on the journey to YOUR adulthood and independence—to YOUR own terrace or porch.  You know how to find us in Career Services.  Please reach out and let us know how we can help you get started on the path to your porch—and if you should happen to stumble upon a magic wand or crystal ball, feel free to bring that along too.  Maybe we can use it to look to a future with a little more Mayberry in it for us all!

Good luck with exams, hearty congratulations to the Class of 2011, and Happy Summer Vacation to all!

Summer Housing Resources

Now that summer is almost here and you are lining up your summer internship or job, it’s time to start searching for housing.

Our website has some housing resources listed by different cities in the United States as well as resources for international housing.

You can check it out here:

Some of the more general resources include, if you are looking to stay for only a short time, or the always popular Craigslist.

A lot of universities also offer affordable housing for students so be sure to see if there are any local colleges nearby.

If you are staying in Philadelphia, the Office of Off-Campus Services at the University of Pennsylvania has a great resource at

Also, be sure to join one of our Regional Network Groups. These groups are dedicated to sharing housing resources for the major metropolitan areas in the U.S. among Penn students and alumni.

Best of luck on your summer search!

 Please Note: Links which are posted do not constitute an endorsement from the University of Pennsylvania or Career Services.

It’s Not Too Late

Classes end tomorrow, and exams loom next week.  If you are one of the students who has decided to put off the internship search until after the semester ends, the time for you to get busy draws near.  With luck, you have already given thought to what you might like to do, and where you would prefer to do it.  If not, schedule an appointment with one of our counselors, who can help you get started.  He or she can review your resume, if you haven’t yet prepared one, and can make sure you are taking full advantage of PennLink and iNet, our online internship platforms.

Internships continue to be posted into June.  And surveys from last summer show that, for example, a quarter of College students found their summer position in May or after, while another 28% accepted their position during this month of April.   So if you haven’t already done so, get started.  Believe me when I say, it’s not too late.


by J. Michael DeAngelis, Editor-at-Large
UPDATE: the links are now working correctly.  Thanks to all who reported the errors.

Penn & Beyond reaches a milestone today as we hit our 300th post!  This blog grows day by day and we’re so thankful to all of our readers here at The University of Pennsylvania and…well, beyond!  There have been 112,000 visits to this blog since we launched and we’re expecting to see our numbers to rise faster and higher!

Here are the Ten Most Viewed Blog Entries on our site since launch (discounting our front page):

Beware the Hippo: Choosing Where to Apply to Medical School

Why Reneging on an Offer is Bad for Your Career Mojo

It’s not too late! (Good) Internships are still out there.

Seniors: Five Job Search Tips for Winter Break

“Makes ‘Em Laugh:” A Comic Strip a Day Gets the Dissertation Written

How to Become the Next Intern Idol

Top Cover Letter No-Nos (in no particular order!)

Responding Sincerely is Very Professional

Navigating OCR with a Low GPA: Networking & Persistence are the Keys to Success

FrankenFood for thought! How lunch can help you find a career


But perhaps you’ve read all those already – here are some undiscovered gems you might like too:

What Disney can teach you about a good CV/resume

Pronoun Abuse: An Interview Diagnosis

O.C.R. = Overly Confusing Recruiting?!?

Videos: how to find an internship in…

5 Differences Between SEPTA and your Job Searching Experience


Here’s a couple of fun facts about Penn & Beyond:

1. The number one most searched for word on our blog is “winter” – which has been sought after 32,278 times! You all must love the cold weather!

2. Most people find us directly from the Career Services homepage or via an e-mail, but nearly 800 hits have come from people following links off of Twitter.

3. Over the past year, 12% of our traffic has been on mobile devices such as smart phones or tablet computers.  It helps that our blog and all our videos have mobile formatted versions available!

4. We’ve had hits from around the world – including China, Israel, India, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.

Thanks again to all of our readers, and to the entire Career Services staff, who all work hard to bring you this blog!

See you at post 400!

Add value to your experience at Penn…and beyond

One of the best ways to prepare for life after Penn – as well as to help you make the most of your time at Penn – is to find a mentor.

One of the best ways to prepare for life after Penn – as well as to help you make the most of your time at Penn – is to find a mentor.  Mentoring opportunities can arise in many ways – for example, discovering that you really connect and enjoy talking with your faculty advisor – or be born out of more formal programs for undergraduates and Alumni such as those profiled on the Career Services Networking and Mentoring webpage.

The Penn Engineering Mentoring Program is one such program, pairing first year students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science with SEAS Alums.   Participant Praveen Bains (EAS ’13) has kindly shared her experience in connecting with her mentor below, illustrating some of the many ways such a relationship can add value to your experience at Penn…and beyond.

Pondering Majors: The Penn Engineering Mentoring Program
By Praveen Bains, EAS ’13

I remember when I first applied to the University of Pennsylvania and came upon the question that asked for your major. At the time, I was definitely uncertain as to what I wanted to do with my life, but I ended up checking the box next to “Bioengineering” and thinking “I’ll just figure it out later.”

Later came in the form of second semester, when I still hadn’t decided if Bioengineering was for me. In an effort to figure out what to do, I signed up for The Penn Engineering Mentoring Program.  [Open to SEAS freshmen, students can apply and select potential mentors from a database of SEAS Alumni volunteers.] After reading through the possible mentors and selecting a few of them, I was paired with a Penn Bioengineering alum, Julie, who was currently working as a patent lawyer in New York City. It was an ideal match, since I had been considering attending law school and pursuing patent law upon graduation from Penn.

I sent an initial contact email to Julie, introducing myself to her and giving a brief background on my career ponderings.  A few days later I was greeted by an enthusiastic response from her; she introduced herself and encouraged me to ask her any questions. From there we corresponded by email for the rest of the semester, mainly discussing her role as a patent lawyer, but also about the random happenings in our lives. It was a very casual and comfortable conversation. She was even in the midst of planning her wedding, but still found time to respond.

During the summer, we decided to set up a conference call of sorts. I was a little nervous initially, since we had built the mentor-mentee relationship via email; I wasn’t sure how she would be on the phone, or how I would come across. But the talking session was a success. We chatted for an hour over my motivations for becoming a Bioengineer, the differences between Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering (which I was considering at the time), and her own career path. Julie proved to be an invaluable resource. After talking with her, I realized that patent law was not the right fit for me, and that Chemical Engineering would be a better base for my future career.

Last summer I officially switched my major from Bioengineering to Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. It was a huge relief to finally have my path set. I am very grateful to Julie for helping me with my decision, and for being open to my questions.

Stay tuned for future posts from some of our esteemed Alumni Mentors!