What I acquired from the MIT Career fair last Thursday:
- 29 pens
- 21 mechanical pencils (16 mechanical, 5 wood)
- More than 10 flash drives
- 21 t-shirts
- 2 cell phone cleaning pads
- 15 LED flashlights
- 6 Rubik’s cubes
- 4 decks of cards
- 1 poker set, with 4 colors of chips
- Computer mouse with retractable cord, which doesn’t seem to work
- Headphones with retractable cord, which I haven’t tested
- 8 tote bags
- 11 sharpies (7 mini and colorful, 4 retractable)
- Hand sanitizer
- Laundry detergent
- 3 rubber ducks
- More candy than a mildly aggressive trick-or-treater usually bags
- Countless other pins, stickers, foam footballs, ping pong balls, yoyos, bottle openers, sunglasses, cozies
- And my personal favorite, a wind-up boogie robot
I just recently sorted, organized, and inventoried all of this swag, which had formerly been occupying nearly 70% of the floor space in my room. It’s now in cups on the desk, hanging from a carabiner on a nail, displayed on the ledge around my room, hidden in a desk drawer, or (in most cases) shoved into a bag which was subsequently shoved under the bed. I can see the floor of my room, for the first time in days!
What I did not acquire at the MIT Career fair:
- A job.
Yes, usually the point of a career fair is to collect job prospects, not swag. In the conventional sense, my priorities were screwed up. However, to continue with the list-y theme of this post, there are three reasons I used the career fair for the bags upon bags of swag:
- Conventional wisdom from upperclassmen indicated that for freshmen, there’s not much point other than swag, unless you want a summer internship. Even then, apparently companies are more interested in sophomores or juniors.
- I do not have a resume. The last time I took a look at everything I’ve done and organized it into a form I could show to other people, it was for college applications. I don’t think the things that convinced the MIT admissions office I was MIT material are the same things that will convince a company like Microsoft or Google that I am summer-internship material.
- I already have 3 jobs! What do I want with a fourth one?
(For the curious: my first job, as I’ve said, is teaching SATPrep. I also work as a math class assistant/grader for www.artofproblemsolving.com. I’m doing the third job right now: blogging for MIT admissions!)
Even though I didn’t get, or even attempt to get, a job, I learned a lot at the career fair. Many of the companies were either software-development firms, who wanted course 6 (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) or 18-C (Math with Computer Science) majors. There were also a lot of trading firms. I was really surprised when I saw a booth for Pixar there. I’ve always known Pixar as a fantastic company that produces such wonders as Finding Nemo and Toy Story, but it had never occurred to me that it’s run by real people! People who may have gone to MIT and gotten a job at the career fair!
Also in attendance on the employers’ side was the CIA. Like several of the companies, the CIA had its own information session later in the evening. Some people from my hall couldn’t resist, and went appropriately dressed:
Shades? Check. Trench coat? Check. Pink hair? You bet!