Years Beyond Smith: A Recent Alum's Path
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
“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.