On Switchboard, Alumni Are Always on Call

 Zina '12 uses Switchboard to find mentors, opportunities, and places to stay.

Zina '12 uses Switchboard to find mentors, opportunities, and places to stay.

Everyone, at some point in their lives, will look for a job—and colleges and universities do a good job of helping their alumni find them.

But people need more than just jobs. We need mentors, advice, and the occasional place to stay. Colleges can't be everywhere at once to help alumni with everything they need.

Their alumni network can.

This is the story of Zina '12, who uses the Reed Switchboard to connect to her alumni network when she needs help from her community.

When did you start using Reed Switchboard?

I started using Reed Switchboard in the summer of 2012. I helped Switchboard one summer by taking photos for a project of theirs. It has been awesome watching it grow and become a user-friendly system.

My first post was in March '13 when I asked for contacts inside Oregon Health & Science University. The responses I got encouraged me to reach out personally to labs I was interested in, and I landed my current position as a direct result of that advice.

You've posted several times on Reed Switchboard. Could you share your stories?

I have used Switchboard as a safe way to find ride-shares, which has been great not only because I am way more comfortable, but also because I get to meet people I have something in common with that I wouldn't otherwise have encountered.

None of my Craigslist fears apply because there's the built in sense of community and accountability. I ended up driving with a Nepali transfer student in his first year at Reed from Portland down to the Bay and back for last Christmas. We compared notes on capitalism, funk, and coffee shops.

I had a blast with him on the road and we have kept in contact. 

 Switchboard success

Asking for career guidance on Switchboard yielded excellent results as well. A wealth of alumni responded to my query.

I talked to some on the phone, some via email. Some were only a few years older than me. Some were quite a ways along in their career path.

Everyone brought a different story and set of experiences to the table.

 Switchboard career advice

Many of them said they played trial and error with jobs until they ended up somewhere they never would have expected to feel right. This helped me relax about needing to get it right the first time and allowed me to experiment more freely.

What do you love most about Switchboard?

Switchboard is the best platform we have to connect alumni. I have met Reedies through Switchboard that I never would have been able to find otherwise.

Switchboard makes me feel embraced by the alumni network in a way that I could not have imagined while I was still a student.

I have had successes that range from small helpful pieces of advice, to finding places to stay overseas. I feel comfortable bringing any kind of crazy ask to this network. It is a versatile website that helps facilitate communication between and meet the needs of Reedies of all makes.

I think it almost single handedly coordinates the post-Reed community, which has vastly enriched the Reed experience for me.