Mental Health Week

A. Mylène Kerschner, Associate Director

Career Services understands that Penn can be a stressful place, and that the job, internship, or grad school search can contribute to feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and even depression. Career Services is proud to support Counseling and Psychological Services Student Advisory Board (CAPSAB) and the 3rd Annual Mental Wellness Week this week at Penn. Activities are taking place Monday through Friday across campus.

caps chart

Events include:

  • Therapy Dogs on Tuesday at CAPS (puppies are pretty much guaranteed to reduce anxiety)
  • Guided Meditation
  • Free Classes at Pottruck Fitness Center
  • Thursday Night Quizzo – Grad Quizzo at the LGBT Center and Undergrad Quizzo at Smokes
  • Talks –  multiple opportunities to learn and discuss more
  • Free Smoothies at the School of Nursing Lobby on Friday, April 8
  • Game Night on Friday, April 8 in Claudia Cohen Hall
  • And most importantly, our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Valerie Young. (Wednesday, April 6 2016; 7-9pm; Room 350 Steinberg Hall – Dietrich Hall)

We hope to see you out at these events for Mental Wellness Week!

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Facebook: UPenn Mental Wellness Week 2015
Confronting your Inner Imposter


Channeling Reese

reeseA couple of months ago I stumbled across this essay, adapted from a speech Reese Witherspoon gave to her students of her high school. I think it’s really great, and can totally be applied to Penn students. Just substitute “high school” for “college,” or “Penn,” and read on:

Now, I personally have pinned Reese’s bangs to my Pinterest “hair inspiration” page, so I’m not sure I agree with her bangs advice, but the rest is spot-on.  

Be curious. If you’re interested in something, find out more about it. Read, talk to people, ask questions. 

Be brave. It can be intimidating at Penn, looking over your shoulder and seeing all the amazing things your peers are accomplishing. It’s natural to ask how yourself you’re measuring up. But remember, someone else’s feat may not be one you’re even interested in personally. Applaud your friend, be a huge cheerleader and an advocate, but then take some time to think about what you make you equally proud. It may require stepping out of your comfort zone, but…

There’s nothing wrong with failure. Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from trying. This has been a big topic recently. It’s cliché, but employers won’t rule you out if you’ve failed at something. If you can explain how you grew, describe how you developed a new perspective, approach, strategy. If you tried again and made more progress, THAT’S a compelling story that any hiring manager wants to hear. You tried something unconventional and maybe it didn’t go as planned, but you tried again. Employers can’t teach that on the job, like they can with so many other technical things your job might require.

Have your own ideas. It’s an election year, so it’s kind of impossible to avoid political debates. If you do your own research and develop your own opinions, you can speak with more confidence and that’s important. Your participation is necessary.

Be honest, be graceful, and be yourselves. And honestly, bangs aren’t always a bad idea.


What’s the deal with OCR?!

by Mylene Kerschner, Associate Director

Ever feel like this?

It’s understandable. This is the time of year when *everyone* is walking around in suits, talking about OCR sign-ups and interviews and offers. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be, say, a marine biologist. Or an architect! But *everyone else* is pursuing consulting, and they’re getting full-time offers in October – if they didn’t have one before they got back to campus! Maybe you should be a consultant, too?


I saw this post on the Humans of New York Facebook page* earlier this month and it stopped me in my tracks. What a perfect analogy! We’ve all been there. You watch one Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and then suddenly it’s four hours later and you’re not sure why you’re watching this segment, or where your afternoon went.

But as it relates to the daunting “choosing what do I want to do with my life,” the analogy can be less amusing than an afternoon of comedy. And honestly, based on my conversations with students recently, this guy could be a Penn student. When you were growing up, did you even consider a career on Wall Street or in consulting? Or did it pop into your head when you got to Penn and saw the upperclassmen tying their ties and sliding on their heels and heading over to the On-Campus Interviewing suite in droves. On-Campus Recruiting has a huge presence on campus, and it’s an incredible opportunity for many of our students. It’s completely natural to glance over to see what it’s all about.

And I’m not saying don’t explore. By all means, do! Take an internship in a field that’s unfamiliar. Join a club that you find interesting but know very little about. Network, network, network!

Just be true to what YOU want to do. Find your calling. Be sure that while you’re glancing left and right in DRL and on Locust Walk, you’re also checking in with yourself, and considering your interests.

And if your calling is in latex sales, don’t be afraid to pursue it with abandon.


Say Vandelay!


*Also, if you don’t already follow Humans of New York on Facebook, you must! Brandon photographs and interviews strangers, then shares stories and images of rare book librarians and inspirational architects, farmers who moved to Alaska to find a new start and many, many others.

Podcasts: A great way to multi-task

Any Serial fans out there? (If yes, did you see the news about Adnan?!)

I was totally riveted by the story and eagerly tuned in weekly to hear what new twists Sarah Koenig had chosen to share with us. I even listened to Slate’s Serial Spoiler podcasts for recaps and additional insights after I’d listened to the week’s episode. And while Serial was a cultural phenomenon (I was delighted when enough of my friends were listening that I could stop explaining, “no, it’s ‘Serial’ with an ‘S,’ not like cereal the breakfast food…”), I’ve actually been kind of obsessed with podcasts for a few years now. I’ll be honest – the main reason I like podcasts is that I’m a big multi-tasker. I want to be entertained while I’m running errands or doing chores, and TV isn’t an option because I just can’t look away. A podcast on the other hand provides the perfect background noise to whatever I’m working on while providing news, entertainment, gossip, or helpful tips!  (Aaaand – if I realized I’ve totally zoned out and suddenly have no idea what anyone’s talking about, that “rewind 15 seconds” feature comes in SUPER handy. Sometimes I might hit it 5 times. Shhhhh.)


I’ve been listening to The Moth and to This American Life for years, but since the incredible success of Serial it seems like more and more interesting podcasts are cropping up. I’ve added Mike Pesca’s Slate podcast The Gist to my repertoire for his humorous take on current events, but I’ve also been excited to find some great podcasts that relate to questions we get here in Career Services.

Adulthood Made Easy tackles questions recent graduates ask – like how to make a new city feel like home, how to find a mentor, and, oh my goodness everyone has a job but me, how do I find a job? 22-year-old Sam Zabell is the host, and she interviews experts to provide the answers!
Adulthood Made Easy
Slate’s Working podcast features professions and interviews someone in the profession about what a day in that field is like.

Slate's Working

Working kicked off big by interviewing Stephen Colbert in its first episode, but other great episodes include How Does a Stand-Up Comedian Work? and How Does a U.N. Official Work? (You might recognize this week’s commencement speaker Samantha Power in Slate’s photo below.)

Press conference of Anthony Banbury and Samantha Power on 29 October 2014 in Accra, Ghana Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by UNMEER/Aaron J. Buckley

Of course these two podcasts are just the tip of the podcast iceberg when it comes to great career (and life) resources. I encourage you to explore some this summer – maybe when you need to be productive but just can’t pull yourself away from your Netflix binge. (Don’t worry – if you lose focus, you can always rewind.)

Deep Cuts from the Penn Career Services Website

If you’ve spent any time clicking around the Penn Career Services website you’ve probably reviewed our guidelines and samples for your written materials like your resume and cover letters. You’re surely familiar with PennLink and you might even know iNet, the internship consortium with internship postings separate from those in PennLink. And of course you were reminded of the incredibly useful tool the Penn Internship Network from Anne Marie’s post a few weeks ago. And while these are excellent resources that we’re so glad you’re utilizing, I’d love to take a few minutes to highlight some of the “deep cuts” from our website: resources that you may not have navigated to on your own but that will certainly help you in your career or internship search.

Our Career Plan Survey Reports! While the Career Services staff spends much of our day meeting with students and reviewing resumes, cover letters, and planning programming, we also do exhaustive reporting learning about where Penn students accept internship and full-time opportunities. I find myself regularly showing students a few things, including the timing of the internship search (for students in College) and the list of full-time employment and graduate studies by major. These reports are also incredibly helpful for salary information and to see where geographically Penn students find opportunities.

Our Career Services Library and in particular our Online Subscriptions! The online subscriptions are PennKey-protected, but our subscriptions include where students have unlimited access to salaries, company reviews, and interview questions; Vault Career Insider where you can learn a ton about specific companies and their corporate cultures and check out their rankings and reviews; Wetfeet Insider Guides where you can find everything from interview guides to employee stories and much, much more!

Our Resources by Career Field! Sure, this one is easy to find from the main page, but have you clicked through to find your specific area of interest? Do you think you might want to do policy research or maybe work for a Think Tank in the future? We suggest some resources for you to explore. Does historic preservation sound like something you might enjoy? Learn more about it! Did you think you might be perfect for a career in sports medicine? Learn about the varied professions that could encompass here! And of course those are only just a small sample of the various fields represented on this page where you can find workshops, panels and programs, professional associations and additional resources.

We’re glad you’ve taken some time to explore our website and hope these deep cuts show you a little more of what we have to offer!