February 4, 2013
By Mohini Ufeli
Since her sophomore year, when two Mount Holyoke upperclasswomen recommended that she apply, Ifeyinwa Arinze ‘13 knew she wanted to work as a Harriet Newhall Fellow for the Admissions Office. Now, in her senior year, she has become both a Harriet Newhall Fellow and an International Outreach Fellow.
Arinze began working as an International Outreach Fellow in the spring of 2012. She was then hired as a Harriet Newhall Fellow the following fall. Her duties involve conducting interviews and answering questions posed by prospective students. The two positions are very similar, the difference being that an International Outreach Fellow means catering specifically to “international” prospective students. This way, the Admissions Office has someone on hand who has experience as an international student, can share that experience with international prospective students, and can address any questions or concerns that they might have as overseas applicants.
The Harriet Newhall position was recommended to Arinze but she applied because she desired a workplace where interaction was required. “I just love having conversations with people and I felt that this job would let me come in contact with people,” she said. Prior to working for Admissions, Arinze worked at the Circulation Desk of the Williston library where she said she, “loved the people more than the job.” The customer-oriented nature of her job at Circulation proved to be a relevant asset at Admissions, where she is constantly interacting with students and families.
At Admissions, Arinze’s main duty is to interview prospective students. After an interview, she is required to write up a report. This requires serious attention to detail and is the most challenging part of her job. “The person reading the application is meeting the student through what you write,” says Arinze. She has to employ the most accurate words to describe the student, in order to avoid giving the reader the wrong impression about the applicant, which could negatively impact their application.
Additionally, Arinze’s duties include welcoming families when their child comes in for an interview. In her chats with students and their parents, she develops key communication skills that are highly relevant to her chosen career. Outside of admissions, Arinze is a Neuroscience and Behavior major, working towards attending medical school to become a pediatrician. In her communication with people of diverse backgrounds and nationalities, she is building confidence, improving social skills, and practicing open-mindedness and courtesy. For doctors, clear communication and hospitality are very valuable skills, as is observation. In translating her impressions of a student to a concise and accurate report, Arinze strengthens that skill. All these qualities would be useful to her, not only as a doctor, but in any field in which she decides to work.
Arinze’s advice to students is that they find a job in which they feel genuinely interested. Time spent outside of class is precious, and she believes it should be spent on work that they enjoy. Also, she advises students to, “Talk to people; find out if there’s a spot open.” Networking is an important part of your job search, and information passed by word-of-mouth could land you an awesome job you love—that you might otherwise have missed.