Career Day: farmers, athletes, authors, construction workers, therapists, and more!

Sophomores and juniors were treated to lively Career Day offerings.

Career Day is a one day, annual event held at ARHS, offering various presentations from professionals throughout the community. This year, Career Day was held on March 5, during the sophomore and junior students’ advisory period. 

There were a broad range of professions represented including (but not limited to) an Amherst Police Officer, a construction supervisor, a transportation planning worker, a former professional basketball player, a farmer, an author, and an EMT.

Even last year’s Miss Massachusetts was supposed to speak, but she unfortunately did not make it to the school in time.

I attended farmer Jeremy Barker-Plotkin’s session. Barker-Plotkin, the parent of an ARHS sophomore and a senior, has been  the owner of Simple Gifts Farm for over 14 years. 

Barker Plotkin worked at a farm in college and loved it. After going to grad school, he realized he really wanted to be a farmer and dedicated himself to building his farm and his business slowly over time. He told the group that he plans to take care of his health “so I can be farming for 200 years.”

Though he described farming as a tough business that pays minimum wage at the start, he also talked about the job opportunities and joys of the farming industry. Barker Plotkin joked to the students that he could only be a farmer “because my wife has a real job.”  

It’s somewhat unusual [to be] a first generation farmer,” said Barker-Plotkin, who admitted that if he’d known he’d end up in farming, he “would not have gone to grad school.”  Many students throughout the school had different ideas to share about Career Day, and different experiences based on which speaker they went to.

ARHS sophomore, Akai Bix, attended Barker-Plotkin’s talk, and learned that college is not just a place to prepare for a job; it can also be “an important time for someone to find themselves.’

Bix said he’d have loved to “see pictures of the farm” Barker-Plotkin worked on. 

Claire Lindsey, an ARHS sophomore, said she accidentally went to Natalie Miknaitis’s presentation about IT work. There, Lindsey learned about a free 16 week program that can train adults to begin entry level IT jobs. 

“It’s so cool [that it is free],” she said. “Other programs cost like fifteen thousand dollars.” 

ARHS junior, Xavier Suter, listened to ecologist and forester Audrey Barker-Plotkin as well as an art historian/architect Meg Vickery. Suter said he learned about post graduate programs, and what can happen with PhD programs. Suter also learned about “how flexible your degree can be” when it comes to the job market. “You can go into different majors, which could land you into different [job] fields,” he said. 

ARHS sophomore, Hannah Jamate, went to the presentation by local YA and children’s book author Cammie McGovern and to hear from Jes Petit, a college mental health counselor. 

Jamate recalled that the counselor told the class that in addition to wanting to help people, if you pursue a career in psychology, “you should be interested in the brain. “

Jamate also added that she wished there was another step you could take if you were interested in the careers. “[It would be great if we were] able to shadow professions [afterward], like a one day shadow program,” she said. 

Tulsi Patel, an ARHS junior, went to a presentation from Becky Michaels, the Assistant District Attorney. Patel recalled that one of the things that stuck with her from the presentation, was that the speaker told her that some of the people who fail out of law school are in it for the money, not their love of the career. “I would like to be a lawyer,” said Patel, who found this session useful.

For some students, Career Day offered a chance to hear job advice they wouldn’t get anywhere else. “Maybe I could be an author,” mused ARHS sophomore Sylvie Cove, after her session.