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Four Years Beyond Smith: A Recent Alum's Path

By Anne Noyes ’02

[Editor's note: Anne Noyes, who majored in English, was a writing intern in the Office of College Relations during her senior year]

It was 2002, only four days after I received my diploma during the beautiful annual ritual that is Smith College Commencement, and my post-graduation transition had occurred almost overnight.

I was sitting in the office of an executive editor at a publishing company in Boston, trying to maintain correct, confident posture, while explaining my deep and abiding appreciation for Moby Dick and, yes, even Milton. Clad in an absurdly banker-esque conservative black-suit-and-modest-heals combo, I was doing my very best to showcase my intellect and charm, while hoping to God that my desperation for a job was sufficiently concealed.

And then…an unexpected break.

“Smith?” the editor said, scanning my résumé. “That’s an excellent school.”

Within a week after that interview, I was the proud occupant of a cubicle -- nondescript except for my name emblazoned at the entryway -- within the Bedford/St. Martin’s English Editorial Group.

Two years later, I left publishing for a copywriting position at an economic consulting firm. There I was surprised to find that I’d been christened with a new moniker, “Anne Smith,” which conveniently fused my first name and alma mater into one all-purpose identifying label. Apparently, my years at Smith warranted special acknowledgement.

Yes, since graduating more than four years ago, the legacy of my Smith education has followed me in many ways, both substantial and not so. In many situations, Smith has proved to be helpful as a recognizable brand name -- a résumé booster, a reliable party conversation starter (i.e. “Did you know my friend Hildegard…?”), and a legitimizing boon for a young woman who perhaps appeared occasionally lost and overwhelmed when facing the new procedures of post-collegiate, professional life.

Now, as a graduate student in New York University’s journalism program, I am finding that my Smith education has armed me in yet another way: with extraordinary analytical, research, and writing skills. I understand how to analyze an argument or coherently support my own views within an essay; I can distinguish substantive research and reliable sources from inferior alternatives; and I know how to approach professors for advice, and when to make use of departmental resources, like the internship coordinator’s office (right away!).

My lingering loans, of course, are a less desirable legacy of my time at Smith. But even now, having learned all about monthly loan payments and cost-of-living expenses in pricey places like Boston and New York, I would again choose the path that took me to Smith.

The education. The friendships. The experiences and opportunities.

They were well worth the investment.

11/20/06   
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