To many high school students who spend time stressing and focusing on raising GPAs and SAT scores, the idea of pursuing a specific profession that induces their actual interest seems an amazing but distant dream.
The Junior Job Shadow program allows students to shadow an adult in any profession for a day and provides a unique experience in which students can actually witness the daily demands and expectations of their desired profession.
Shauna Flaherty, who works at the Staples college and career center, helps run the program. “The purpose of Junior Job Shadow Day is to give students an idea of what the profession they have chosen is like and to expose them to things they may not have known about. We expect students to have an enriching experience and to learn what it’s like to spend a day in the life of a profession they think they’re interested in,” Flaherty said.
To qualify for the program students must prove they are apt, have a decent attendance record, and are required to have a teacher fill out a Teacher Permission Form verifying this. They also are required to attend a two day meeting prior to the shadowing regarding expectations and proper attire. Additionally students must fill out a questionnaire which reveals information about the field itself, as well as both a Job Shadow Contract and Job Shadow Application.
Besides this, the program has little guidelines. Students indicate what they are interested in, and professionals from the guidance department find relevant job sites for them. Companies, firms, and individual professionals are all used as advisors to the program, who monitor and chaperone the shadowing student for they day. 40 students can participate in the program.
The Junior Job Shadow Program has been running for four years. Flaherty noted that the program “has definitely increased in popularity over the years.”
This year, juniors are scheduled to be shadowing on May 25. Those who are shadowing decided to participate in the program because they expect that it will teach them what its like to have a job, especially one that they are interested in.
Zachary Slater ’11 who wants to pursue architecture as a career, decided to participate in the job shadow to gain experience. “I decided to do the job shadow program because I felt it would give me an opportunity to experience what its like to be in the workforce, specifically in the career I want to peruse. I expect to gain more knowledge on how the career works and how it varies from other places I have worked at or shadowed,” Slater said. He also stated that he believes that the program will give students a taste of what the senior internship will be like next year.
KD Devoll ’11 indicated the usefulness of the program for juniors as they begin the college process, and must begin to conclude what professions they really want to pursue or not when they get there.
“Now that we’ve all started to look at colleges, its important to think about what you want to do in the future, and hopefully the shadow will help me fully understand what its like to be a psychologist,” she said.
Flaherty, who has talked with students in years past after the program, also emphasized its use as, not only a way to gain experience, but also to weed out jobs that one may not really want to pursue.
“Sometime students love it and want to learn more about the field they job shadowed with or sometimes they find out this wasn’t what they were expecting and are no longer interested in that field, which is a learning experience in itself,” said Flaherty.