Clemson’s New Post-BA Advisor: Helping Students Prepare for Life After Graduation
Panicking about the future? Want to explore your future career options? Dr. Jonathan Beecher Field is here to help. The English department has created a new position designated for English majors who would like to help with preparing for life after graduation. Previously an informal position taken up by many of the faculty, the English department hopes to formalize it in order to assuage the anxiety around entering the job search or applying to grad schools.
The goal for the post-BA advising position is to try to help English majors feel more seen at a STEM university. “They’re in a world where their friends are majoring in a major where their job will be the same name as their major,” says Dr. Field. “If you major in chemical engineering, you’re gonna be a chemical engineer. If you’re majoring in turfgrass management, you’re gonna manage turfgrass. If you’re majoring in English, there isn’t a binder full of jobs as an Englisher.” Dr. Field’s job is to work individually with students to figure out their path and create events such as Q&A’s with people who work in various careers.
Dr. Field finds that his role is constantly evolving to adapt to the needs of the students who approach him. “It’s all about being responsive to what students want and need from me in this position.” In terms of resources, Dr. Field hopes to provide time and attention to English majors and offer different perspectives on careers. “One of the things I hope to be able to provide is…to build networks from Clemson students out into the broader world. It sounds dorky to say ‘curating a network,’ but something like that.”
Dr. Field recognizes that there is generalized anxiety on campus around finding a job which is why he believes that his role is important to students. “I think that there is an idea in a time of economic anxiety that people on campus, especially a stem oriented campus, will manage their anxiety about the future by making fun of people who major in any type of liberal arts major,” Dr. Field said. “There are all kinds of articles that point to relatively bright prospects for our majors.” He invites students to check out the 8th floor of Strode where there is a bulletin board full of business cards from alumni who work in various types of careers.
Moving forward, Dr. Field hopes to see Clemson English majors dominating in publishing, academia and law. He has seen alumni work for the media conglomerate Decider, a New York Post vertical focused on streaming entertainment, a Chicago publishing house and more. “It’s fun to see this map expand, particularly because the people hiring are not local. It’s helpful to have people connected to those worlds,” says Dr. Field.
When making connections with potential employers, Dr. Field offers this word of advice; “Hustle, charm, repeat. If you take a limited opportunity and knock it out of the park, and are able to interact in a way that is positive, that can lead in a direction that is going to be positive.”
Students are encouraged to join the Slack workspace “English Students and Alums,” attend the workshops advertised through email and Instagram or email Dr. Field at firstname.lastname@example.org for a one-on-one meeting—the more specific the ambition, the more helpful he can be.
Written By: Hannah Rohaley