Alex Harrington ’19

Students chat with an alum at last year’s event

As a graduating senior, with post-Mac life on the horizon, it’s impossible (and impractical, I suppose) to stop myself from wondering about what comes next. The potential paths for English majors are innumerable, a promise made to students by everyone from professors to the Career Development Center. More often than not, this promise can feel faraway and abstract. Never has the endless possibility after graduation felt more tangible or exciting to me than at Apps & Alums, an annual networking event hosted by the English Honor Society that combines appetizers with alumni. This year’s Apps & Alums is taking place later today, March 7, from 6:00-8:00 in Weyerhaeuser Boardroom.

Lineup of last year’s attending alumni

Every spring, Apps & Alums brings English alumni from all walks of post-grad life back to campus for a warm night of conversation and community. Current students are invited to mingle with alumni in a casual environment over some of the most decadent appetizers ever seen on campus. The English Honor Society works hard to ensure that alumni in attendance showcase less than linear pathways. Standing tables are labeled with broad categories of post-grad options and alumni are asked to find a table that best fits their experience. Students move from table to table to chat with alumni who have experience in their areas of interest. Categories in past years have included everything from publishing or marketing to performance and teaching English as a foreign language.

Since I have attended Apps & Alums each of my three years at Mac, I am excited for my fourth and final round (at least as a student!). This year, some of the alumni will be my good friends, a difference which strikes me as bittersweet.

The author at last year’s event

Beyond the resonance of a community pulled back together from far and wide, Apps & Alums also provides a valuable networking opportunity. In years past I’ve walked away with business cards and email addresses of graduates teaching, working in publishing, or going to law school. Reconnecting with old classmates is one thing, and making connections with people in your field of interest is another entirely. Apps & Alums is unique because it seamlessly blends the two. Fancy appetizers and an opportunity to try out your business casual look accompany an atmosphere as cozy as it is earnest. Networking becomes connecting. Learning about the world outside of Macalester and all of its ambiguities is made approachable and enjoyable. The innumerable paths to be taken light up right in front of us.

Come for the lovely apps, and stay for the even lovelier connections to be made. This year, Apps & Alums happens on Thursday, March 7 from 6 to 8 PM in the Weyerhaeuser Boardroom.