Ming DeMers/Sun Staff Photographer

Students speak with members of Cornell's Career Services department during the Winter Career Carnival on Thursday.

January 29, 2023

Career Services Hosts Inaugural Winter Career Carnival

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Cornell’s Career Services department hosted its inaugural Winter Career Carnival on Thursday, where students played carnival games in order to learn more about the department’s services and win Cornell-related prizes, such as mugs, water bottles and tickets to men’s hockey games.

“We wanted to throw a fun event on campus to get first-years and other students excited and interested in some of the different tools that Career Services offers, as well as get to meet the staff who they might be meeting with for appointments,” Jessamyn Perlus, senior associate director of career services, said. “Instead of doing the more traditional fair where we have a lot of information sheets, we decided to try something a little different — get some food and have some games.”

Staff prepared games to teach students about Handshake, SkillsFirst — a résumé optimizing tool — and common interview questions through winter activities like a mock snowball fight, ice-fishing and a winter cyclone wheel. 

“I think [the Career Carnival is] useful for figuring out what services are offered and what they do, because they just lay out these services,” Ria Panchal ’25 said.

Kwadwo Obour ’26 shared similar sentiments. 

“They make sure you’re aware of [what Career Services does] and offer help before the actual game,” Obour said. “The games are a good way to draw people in.”

Students enjoy games at the Winter Career Carnival. (Ming DeMers/Sun Staff Photographer)

According to Executive Director of Career Services Erica Kryst, the goal of the Career Carnival was to make career exploration more accessible and fun, especially for first-year and second-year students.

“A lot of times students think about careers as something they do junior and senior year, but there are so many options out there,” Kryst said. “It’s great to start thinking early so that you have time to research and talk to people in those career fields.”

Parker Platkin ’25 was one student who expressed mixed sentiments on the event’s usefulness. 

“I didn’t really find [the snowball fight] very helpful because I feel like I already have a pretty good résumé that I’ve set up,” Platkin said. “But the interview [game] helped and the Handshake [activity] was good.”

“I see it both ways,” Shruti Nagpal ’25 said. “I think there are a lot of other resources for people who want clear cut information — it’s kind of nice, having some different activities put in place. I do think, though, that the takeaways from the games are a little bit oversimplified.”

Nagpal, Obour, Platkin and Panchal all expressed interest in meeting with career services following the event.

“I’ll see what’s helpful for me personally, and maybe I’ll meet with them,” Platkin said.

In the long run, Kryst hopes that students will use the office’s services more often.

“Maybe they’ll go online and check out our career development toolkit where they can access career information on their own,” Kryst said. “ But if they’re not sure of a good career path, or if it’s stressing them out because they don’t know what they want to do and they feel like they should know, they can certainly come and talk to somebody in our office who can walk them through the process of exploring careers to help them feel a little bit more confident or relaxed about their career path.”