Drew An Brubaker (‘16) graduated from Eastern University with her BS in Psychology, a minor in Biology and another minor in Political Science. Drew An was also a member of Templeton Honors College. As I interviewed Drew An in her current workplace, Frontline Education in Malvern, PA, where she works as senior Human Resources generalist, she told me about her time at Eastern and updates on her life now. Drew An, an exceptionally articulate and enthusiastic individual, described how she grew at Eastern and how post-graduate life has further shaped how she sees and interacts with the world.
Upon choosing a college to attend, Drew An at first did not want to go to Eastern. Her older brother graduated from Eastern and she worried she would be stuck in his shadow. Ultimately, through comparison with other schools, she was drawn to Eastern because it offered a unique mission statement, place in Christian academia and honors college.
Speaking of her time as a psychology student and a student in Templeton Honors College, Drew An said she learned two very different, robust ways to see the world. She described how each class in Templeton and the psychology department had its own common language, and going between classes involved a kind of “code switching.” Describing what she took away from the experience of being a member of both the psychology department and THC, Drew An said, “There’s so many perspectives in the world, and so many Christian perspectives, and yet the vast majority of them are well thought out, robust perspectives from really earnest, wonderful people who are seeking to follow Christ. And they disagree vehemently, often, kind of always, and very passionately. But just seeing that the intention was to love Christ and serve him and do right… just because someone disagrees with me doesn’t mean they don’t care about people or also care about truth; it’s a lot more complicated than that.”
Near the end of her undergraduate experience, Drew An began to look seriously at graduate school and job possibilities. She was not interested in a specific field of graduate work, so she turned her attention elsewhere. Discussing her options with professors, as well as attending a panel on psychology graduates and career fairs, Drew An began to apply to jobs. Straight out of school, Drew An worked in the mental health field at an entry level job, which she claimed was perfect for her on paper. Even though she believed the work was important, she was dissatisfied; she did not enjoy the work and her night schedule did not permit her to stay connected to her community, family, and friends. Drew An acknowledged the importance of the lesson she learned during her first post-college job: it’s not about getting a job with the ‘right’ title, but about finding a job that matches your skill sets and fits with how you want to live your life.
Taking a leap of faith, Drew An quit her job while still applying and interviewing at other places. Intrigued by a Facebook post by her friend of an entry level HR job opening, Drew An was hired by Frontline Education, a school administration software company, a week and a half after quitting her mental health care job. She made the decision to join the company based on her attraction to the company’s core values and the fact that her skill sets fit the job description.
Drew An discussed the application and interview process through her lens as an HR worker familiar with hiring policies. She claimed job interviews are similar to first dates. She says that when someone is younger, they are concerned about saying what would potentially make the other person like them, which many people do in job interviews as well. However, it’s really about compatibility. It’s much better, according to Drew An, to walk into an interview with the intention of finding out if one is compatible with the job and the company. She conceded, “Although, sometimes you just need a job, which is never the case about a boyfriend.”
When asked what piece of advice she would give to current students, Drew An said there are two seemingly contradictory, but ultimately important aspects one needs to balance. The first: “Take a deep breathe, you’re gonna be ok.” She advises students not to be too concerned about getting the perfect job, especially the perfect title, right out of college, which she said is usually not going to happen. Instead, take opportunities which are currently available. The second: Work really hard. Find the opportunities offered through Eastern’s professors and career resources.
Drew An’s experience entering the work world has continued to build upon the growth she underwent at Eastern. Her story is an encouragement to diligently pursue one’s interests while also recognizing that things will work out, which frees us to enjoy the process.