The Daily Northwestern

Sumra: Students, please stop job bragging

Eish Sumra, Columnist

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Every year, I love seeing eager college students post barrages of career updates on Facebook. As they negotiate roles with big-name companies and secure internships, they share lines of humble bragging mixed with language reminiscent of an Oscar acceptance speech. As a senior, this will surely be a feature on my Facebook wall for the next year or so. Lucky me. Sometimes it’s hard not to reply “Ashley, you got a job offer, not a Grammy. Relax.”

The posts are often bizarre. Some start with, “I know many of you have been asking,” as if the world waits with baited breath to hear the results of your McKinsey interview. Others use them to share the news with family, friends and loved ones, as if communicating with people closest with you via a very public Facebook post is completely natural. How endearing. Your high school crush or mom’s best friend might like to hear about your career path, but a social media press release hardly seems necessary. The people who actually care should be informed via phone or in person. Not via a self-serving, low-key arrogant paragraph on social media.

Recruitment is rough enough for some, especially those who don’t have the same opportunities or contacts as others. Many students don’t get employed weeks before senior year, but rather a year or more out of college.

These journeys are highly personal and individualized. The more we attempt to turn them into a reality show, the less important they become. We mainstream specific narratives of success, which only serves to make us more homogenous and narcissistic. College is hard enough when dealing only with personal issues. When other people’s success — or perceived success — is brazenly shoved in your face, another level of unnecessary pressure is added.

Our generation has glamorized the alternative reality of social media, contorting our life journeys into screenplays for the world to see. We reduce moments of joy, sadness and achievement to tidbits that can be liked in the blink of an eye, without any deeper understanding or context. We seem to do it with everything, as if our life goals are meaningless if not publicized, creating a vicious cycle where everyone judges themselves and others on these moments of pointless promotion.

So to those eager beaver Northwestern students who think their resume updates need to be plastered over social media, chill out — if you are actually proud of yourself, you shouldn’t feel the need for such transparent public validation. Getting a job is a great achievement, especially considering the competitive nature of both college and post-college life. Don’t turn these achievements into a public spectacle, reducing them to desperate pleas for applause instead of admirable steps toward one’s own personal goals. You have the rest of your life to brag; don’t start now when you’re a college student and life has only just begun.

Eish Sumra is a Medill senior. He can be contacted at eishsumra2018@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.

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