By Seraphina Mallon-Breiman
Serena Guiles is Green Mountain College’s new Career Services Director. As written in the GMC Journal: “
Serena Eddy Guiles, the new director of career and personal development at GMC, loves to help students discover their passions and develop skills they never knew they had.
“The vast majority of us had no clear idea what we wanted to do for a career when we were in college—myself included,” she said. “The good news is, we’re reinventing ourselves all the time. Deciding what to do is a lifelong process.”
Serena brings a broad range of skills and interests to her new job. Educated at Harvard/Radcliffe College, she most recently served as program coordinator for RSVP and the Volunteer Center of the United Way in her native Middlebury, Vt. She also served as assistant director of career services at Harvard Law School and associate director of career services at Boston College Law School.
Since 2007 she’s been an active volunteer for the Middlebury Community Players as an actor and music director, and is assistant director of the Maiden Vermont Chorus. An elite athlete, she was a member of the U.S National Rowing Team, earning a 5th place in quadruple sculls in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games and competing in numerous world championships.
“I think the liberal arts education is a great background for any pursuit because you learn how to think, to write, to speak, to problem-solve. If you can acquire those skills, you can do anything,” she said.
Serena’s office is located in the CAT Center in Withey Hall.
As a senior in college, I have never written an official resume, curriculum vitae or cover letter before meeting with Serena. I had typed somewhat haphazard resume-like documents in order to apply for an internship or two- and proceeded to get said internship- but my resume was left to be more than lacking. I am someone who has always been intensely active within whatever community in which I choose to take part, but my conscious acknowledgment of the qualifiable skills or leadership roles I’ve activated are difficult for me to decipher.
In fact, it is so difficult for me to pin-point and select the activities in which I’m engaged because I find myself actively enjoying them instead of acknowledging them as accomplishments to be written down for boasting glory at a later date. This was the mental state of consciousness that I held going into my first meeting with Serena. Sitting down with her, I explained my strengths and weaknesses and where my resume fell amid the mix. Her first response was, “Alright, well start telling me about what you’re doing right now or what you’ve been doing over the past year.” So I did. I spoke to her as a friend and she listened and smiled the whole time, encouraging more and more intricate detail within my stories. The whole time I was speaking, Serena was quietly nodding, writing, or typing. We continued in this way for the following hour of our time together and by the end of our session, she turned her computer in my direction and handed me her notepad. I was in shock. She had written a rough outline for all of the different areas of my life including academics, work experience, internships, volunteer work and experience abroad. I could begin to breathe again. I wanted to hug her. She kindly stated, “Your time is up.” We rescheduled.
We rescheduled two more times after that and have continued to meet almost weekly ever since. Tomorrow I will be visiting Serena for the fourth time in the CAT center. We’ve started using an official resume outline now, pulling information from our conversations over to the official slots in which they fit. I feel so thankful for Serena’s ability to eliminate so much of my anxiety throughout this professional process. Now, I feel certain that by the time I need to begin sending applications and resumes off to future jobs and internships, I will be ready.