Contributed by Ben Bradley ’08, member of Alumni Council Career and Employment Services Committee.

Each year of undergrad is marked by a similar routine. As the fall semester starts you can almost create a universal checklist of the things you need to do in preparation for your return to student life in the year ahead. The sooner the items on the list can be checked off, the better.

My checklist often included the following things:     Ben Bradley

  • Set-up my room
  • Acquire textbooks (and simultaneously realize my social life will be diminished by these)
  • Reprint class schedule
  • Enjoy my first meal back in the SUB
  • Survive first football or volleyball practice
  • Attend ASK Night

Many of these items may look familiar; however, I imagine a few questioning eyebrows rose in response to one in particular. Let me address the last item on the list–ASK Night.

Many readers may be asking why Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Night is on this list, or potentially, if this is your first year on campus, what is ASK Night?

Beyond being an event with delicious food, ASK Night is a wonderful networking event with a multitude of purposes, but at its core, it is an opportunity to connect with alumni from your alma mater.

These are alumni who are excited to speak with students and share gained career knowledge and experience. Selfishly, many of the alumni are also excited for the chance to hear from students about what is currently happening on campus – I know this is something I enjoy hearing when attending ASK Night.

So why is it on the list of things to be covered at the beginning of the year?

Career development is something that can always be on your mind as a student, and ASK Night provides a non-threatening environment to stay in it. Immerse yourself; even in your first year! There is something to be taken away by students at any stage of career development. As a few examples:

  • Learn about diverse careers that Puget Sound grads have gone on to pursue
  • See why a liberal arts degree really does prepare you well for a wide spectrum of careers (I have met English majors who now work in Corporate Finance, and Business Majors who design wetsuits)
  • Identify careers that really don’t sound like a fit for you (even if originally you may have thought they did)
  • Meet up with alumni who were involved in organizations you’re part of—or have an interest in—whether it be Greek life, athletics, or student government
  • Build your social network to begin identifying potential summer internship opportunities

So make ASK Night a priority on your back-to-school checklist. I’ll see you there!

© 2011 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound