Half-court dreams

Courtney Baxter ’11 had big dreams after graduation—and big dreams often lead to unknown territory. In a recent New York Times article, Baxter talks about the journey to find her first job, and the not-so-ordinary path she took to get it.

I found my dream job in New York after writing an e-mail version of one of those half-court basketball shots. In a state of post-graduation anxiety early this year, I had paused from my résumé tweaking and cover-letter editing to acknowledge that I was at a loss. That’s when my gut persuaded me to e-mail an author I had never met, and to ask her for advice.

It had been nine months since I graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, with a B.A. in gender studies and international studies, and I had already lived in Michigan; Washington, D.C.; Ohio; New Jersey; and now New York, doing internships and taking on short-term stints as a nanny. I wasn’t ready to go to graduate school, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career.

Throughout college, I had been reading and following the work of Courtney E. Martin, author of “Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists” and “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection Is Harming Young Women.” I loved her accessible writing about activism, feminism, freelancing and nontraditional faith. Thanks to online media, she had served as a kind of mentor-at-a-distance who both inspired me and calmed my career nerves. When I read her, I saw myself; if she could be so influential, there was hope for other big dreamers like me …

Be sure to read the rest of Baxter’s account of finding her dream job. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to take a half-court shot of your own.

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