The Collegian
Monday, May 20, 2024

Ask Maddy: Thrifting for jobs

Dear Maddy,

Do I need to graduate with a job already lined up? In other words, how do I not feel like a failure if I’m the only one without any concrete plans for post-grad?

Dear reader,

I, for one, do not have a job lined up. I promise you are not alone, nor do you need to feel like a failure.

And you don’t exactly need to graduate with a job already lined up. There are plenty of other opportunities that are not job-centric that could be just as beneficial to your overall career (and well-being). 

Take a step back from LinkedIn and figure out what you want to do. If what you’d really like is a job, then patience is key. Sometimes, the reason you aren’t being called back yet could simply be because many companies don’t have enough people working in their hiring department to get to it. Whatever the reason, I believe a good job comes to those who wait.

Now, if a job is not what you’re looking for, here are a couple of other opportunities to keep in mind.


If you’re still looking for employment opportunities that will look good on your resume, many internships accept graduating seniors. From my previous internships, graduating seniors who I’ve worked with have also been much more likely to work for the company full-time following the completion of the internship.

As we inch closer to summer, I would start sending in applications for internships sooner rather than later, but there’s also nothing wrong with taking the summer off and applying for fall ones. Just keep in mind which internships accept graduating seniors and when applications are due.


Like internships, fellowships are a great opportunity to diversify your work history. While fellowships are more likely to focus on an independent study, many of them offer stipends and opportunities to connect with recruiters in related industries. For those interested in furthering their on-campus research projects, or simply taking a year to travel to a new area, fellowships could be the perfect solution.

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There are a number of professional associations, think tanks and more offering positions, and fellowship dates often vary. The Office of Scholars and Fellows has more information for those interested in finding the right one for them.

Graduate School

If you’re looking into graduate school, the time frame for applying for this fall may have already passed. But for the underclassmen reading this — especially juniors — it is never too early to look into getting a master's degree, Ph.D. programs, certifications and more. 

Gap Year

I firmly believe that more people should take gap years. If there’s anything the pandemic has shown us, gap years can be beneficial for several reasons. Whether it’s a break from the mental strain of college or taking time to travel to cities on the bucket list, a gap semester or year can change the trajectory of your life. I will acknowledge that gap years are inaccessible to lots of people for many reasons, but if you have the opportunity and feel it is right for you, I say go for it.

That’s all the advice from me. This column was particularly cathartic for me; as someone currently searching for jobs, it is not fun. But maybe I’ll take my own advice for once?



P.S. We’ve got another bonus this week! Thank you all again for submitting questions, and please tell your friends to do so as well!

Dear Maddy,

Sustainability question: best places to thrift in RVA and also what do we do with our furniture when we move out?

Rethink Waste’s Spider Exchange is perfect for thrifting on campus! The Spider Exchange is an easy and accessible way for students to obtain gently used and donated items for free.

As for off-campus shops, I know Buffalo Exchange and Ashby are pretty popular. I usually go thrifting back home, but I’m sure there are plenty of local spots looking for donations — and shoppers!

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