Students helping students: App State’s new Career Studio helps students navigate the professional world

Emily Broyles, Associate News Editor

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Students can now seek advice on resumes, internships and other career tools without making an appointment or “suiting-up,” thanks to the new Career Studio in John E. Thomas Hall. 

Susan McCraken, director of career development and economic engagement, said the Career Studio was inspired by campuses that practice professional development in an open, inviting and casual space.

“Think of it like a Google office setting,” McCraken said. “It’s constantly kind of like an organic setting all day long.”

The Career Studio allows students to drop-in for help from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with at least two career guides accessible. 

Career guides are usually juniors and seniors who help other students with professional needs and offer a peer perspective.

It’s been a really nice atmosphere for us, but also hopefully for the students in this high-stress situation of resume reviews and finding the right internship or career,” Logan Camden, junior finance and banking major and career guide, wrote in an email.

Alex Young, a senior psychology major and career guide, said the open-space approach proves you can have a conversation while in a professional setting.

“I think sometimes if you’re talking to your peers, there’s maybe a little bit more of a connection,” Young said. “(It’s) kind of that one-on-one and less of a professional saying, ‘Here’s what you’ve got to do and here’s the only way to do it.’ It’s much more of like a conversation.”

Career guides are employed by the Career Development Center and have the opportunity to intern with their designated college. For Young, this is a step toward his desired job in student affairs.

“This is really kind of like a stepping stone for me,” Young said. “This is just another avenue to explore; it’s really exciting.”

Camden got involved with the Career Development Center when he wanted his resume to stand out more. He has now worked at the center for nine months, sharing the advice he once learned as a drop-in student seeking help.

“I wanted to be a career guide because I’ve always wanted to help people in something specific that they may not have down 100%,” Camden wrote. “From the few people I have been part of helping, it’s made me feel like I’ve made just a small difference in their future, something that I can’t do in most settings aside from this one.”

McCraken said since the studio’s soft opening at the beginning of the academic year, there have already been students in the studio looking for advice on the next steps in their careers. She is glad to see students come in because finding a career patch can evoke stress.

“I think a career is sort of like your life pass, and it’s work, it’s service, it’s how you engage in a community,” McCraken said. “We really want students to come meet with us early on and think, ‘What is the life I want to live when I leave Appalachian?’”

McCraken referenced a lyric from The Avett Brothers’ song “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” that goes, “Decide what to be and go be it,” as her hopes for not only the Career Studio, but for students finding their path.

“That’s kind of what we want to help people do. What is it you want to be, not just the work you want to do?” McCraken said. “Let us help you explore and define what that is.”