I pulled on the latest array of exciting clothes, between cali-classy and and Deutsch informell and headed down to the the Sunday brunch seeking sanity among fellow post-party-ers.
Lunch today however, was a classier affair. Beyond the regular celebrations of friendship and a break from weekly classes, this was the reunion of the growing network of Jacobs Alumni, come to celebrate the 5th and 10th anniversaries of the classes of 2004 and of 2009.
I am overwhelmed by the tidal wave of warm greetings between strangers in the place I now consider home. They fly in from North and South Germany, from USA and UK and all over Europe.; they Fly in from new companies, newly forged careers and ambitions. There are children everywhere- pregnant mothers and babies and children up to 6 years old- and us undergraduate students are confronted over breakfast with the question- where will I be in 10 years? Marriage? Job in Germany? Children? I think i need another coffee.
This Friday our innovative Career Service Center organized for the first time the Jacobs Career Symposium, bringing together wisdom young an old to ponder the Jacobs question- How does internationalisation and diversity fit into the modern work place? How do Jacobs students fit into the modern workplace?
So I give myself my own shot at the daunting feat of networking. “How did you first get interested in photography?” I ask a presenter from Continental, an alumni whose name i have seen under award winning photographs in the hallways on campus.
“Well, photography composition is the same as it was in the time of Rembrandt,” he says. “…and I’ve got to pick up my girlfriend from downtown at 1am.”
Next I approach the guest speaker Professor Kearney from the University of Potsdam. Although he would like to join the Alumni Lounge night, he must return to Berlin to take his son to football practice in the morning.
“Where are you from-i recognize that accent.”
“The west coast-”
I knew it. Im getting good at this.
And so we switch back and forth formal and informal as we explore the speakers arriving from all sorts of interested firms from Continental and DMK to local Mercedes-Benz Bremen to younger companies like Barry Callebaut and Skype (Microsofy). This is how the international students connect to an international workforce- shared curiousity and shared experiences.
Meeting them, more than anything humanized life beyond college, opened doors to a working running job market where people learn, adapt and move on to bigger and new projects all the time. It made real the life beyond the interview, even beyond the first few pay checks, and yes maybe even children running around the cafeteria along with the next generation of college students.
Because we all have dreams to pursue, and after a big party- we all just want a cup of coffee.
The best piece of alumni advice from the immaculately dressed Continental employee was “College is for you to have fun. The time to worry about all this will come.”
This “fun”of college are the most formative times of your life. Independent of home, time restraints, and family-social circles, and for Jacobians, even framework of your home culture is gone. The more FUN one has in college, the more you know about yourself, your dreams and how to get there on your own. And yes-how to take some help and advice from strangers like me.
So- go have fun.
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