You’ve all heard the commercials, seen it on the college’s website and more than likely, if you’re honest with yourself, rolled your eyes at it: “The Simpson Experience.” It’s mocked and the center of many jokes, but be it as it may, no matter what you call it, it’s what you take into the “real world” from Simpson.
I’m here to tell you that you make your own “Simpson Experience.” It’s your responsibility to make the most of it, not the college’s.
If you ask me, I found my “Simpson Experience” outside of the classroom. Sure, I learned plenty in classes that I’m using in my everyday life, but the real lessons and the real experience that will actually benefit you post-graduation, came from hands-on professional experience. By that, I mean as great as Simpson’s student-run organizations are, they can only do so much.
In order to be marketable and attractive to potential employers, you need to make your own “Simpson Experience” by getting off campus to supplement Simpson’s organizations with professional experience in whatever field you desire.
I think too often people think being involved in on-campus organizations and staying in your comfort zone is good enough; good enough to land a job offer in their field the minute they walk across the stage. That’s anything but true.
I was a journalism and mass communication major with sights set on becoming a television reporter. On campus, I was the News Editor for The Simpsonian and involved in all of the video classes offered. But, that wasn’t enough to land a job in my field. I interned at a newspaper, WHO-TV and KCCI-TV. Still, that didn’t give me much of an advantage over other reporter applicants in the “real world,” but it made for a level playing field.
Making the most of your “Simpson Experience” both in and out of the classroom is what gives you an advantage. I applied for my internship at KCCI-TV reluctantly (unpaid, 40 hours per week, 15 weeks of my summer), but it turned out to be the best thing that happened to me to launch my career.
While I was an intern, I was a sponge, soaking up everything I possibly could about how every aspect newsroom was run. I stayed late to turn my own stories and that hard work paid off. I was reporting on the air by the end of my internship, and was then hired to fill-in report. That turned into a long-term fill-in spot, which landed me a full-time reporter job before graduation at the CBS-affiliate in Omaha, Neb.
I am convinced the only way I landed this job was because I made the most of my “Simpson Experience,” which also means I took a look around me on campus and realized the vast amount of resources available. It doesn’t matter what field you’re studying. Take a look at the professors in your department. For me, in the communications department, each and every one of them has loads of professional experience, meaning they’ve been where you are—a student worried about getting a job in your field after graduation. It also means they can be a huge resource for you in helping prepare you for the “real world.” That’s a benefit of a small school—an advantage that everyone should utilize to help launch a career.
After all, if you don’t care enough to make the most of your “Simpson Experience,” who will?