Today’s college students have it rough. Anyone who pays attention to the news has heard about how hard it is to find a job (or even an internship!), and how 53 percent of recent grads are either unemployed or underemployed. So it’s no wonder that many current students are afraid that in five years, they’ll have a diploma, a job waiting tables, and a spot sleeping on their parents’ couch. Wouldn’t it be nice if today’s college students could talk to a version of themselves five years in the future, just so the future-them could tell current-them that everything is probably going to work out okay?
That’s some of the reasoning behind Johns Hopkins’ new Bridge 5 program, which pairs incoming freshmen with alumni who are five years ahead of them, school-wise. The idea is that despite all the great advice that parents and advisers can provide, near-peers can offer the kind of guidance that hits closer to home. The idea is that the recent grads can offer practical help (which professors are great; how to deal with long-distance relationships), insight about grad school and early-career steps; and mentorship opportunities. The recent grads even have a blog where they offer tips on where to eat in Baltimore and how to find the best secret study spots on campus.
Some of the current mentors (aka recent grads) include Max, an international studies major who now works as a communications consultant in New York; and Jessica, a public health/environmental studies major, who works at a non-profit in Hanoi. Isn’t it reassuring to hear that it is actually possible to get a cool job after graduation? Maybe we’re imagining it, but it sounds like the entire freshman class just breathed a giant sigh of relief.