By Alessia Cortina, LMU in Munich, Germany
If you are anything like me, you might cringe a little when hearing the words résumé or CV. It sounds so ominous, standing there, in the corner of your mind for days and weeks and months on end. After all, what am I supposed to write in it? What am I supposed to fill it with? What experience can a 19-year-old teenager have that is worth immortalizing and using to show that I know what I am doing? How can I even show that I know what I am doing when in fact, I really don’t?
Résumés for university applications were always the absolute worst. Two years (or more) to prepare for it, two years where the main decision-making criteria was: Does this look good on my application? Choosing MODEL UN over Theatre because it appears to have more international recognition, stands out more and is taken more seriously. Taking on that extra activity because you know it will just look good in your CV. Giving up a hobby that you have loved for years, simply to make room for many, often insignificant projects that just look good when listed on this piece of paper. And – don’t get me wrong – Model UN was a whole lot of fun and I am grateful that I did it, but I regret doing it because of my CV. I regret not giving it a chance to just be amazing on its own right away. I regret that we are often encouraged to view excellence as dexterity in conforming and perfecting a standard. As if people who are deemed successful are those that simply excel in the norm, those that take what is prescribed and do better.
Thinking about the way we treat résumés is absurd to me: You create résumés for jobs, you get jobs for résumés and the cycle just never ends. Why don’t we just get jobs for jobs? Why don’t we turn our résumés into the collection of everything we’ve done that we are truly proud of, instead of a collection of unwillingly done activities that are meant to portray how well we fit the standards that are asked of us?
I refuse to conform to this idea of success. I refuse to believe that conforming matters more than discovering, that doing something for how it looks matters more than doing something because it matters.
From this moment on, I vow to turn my Curriculum Vitae into a curriculum of my life and not someone else’s. A life I have lived every moment of for myself and my experiences. Model UN is not any more amazing because it adds a gold star to my CV, the experience itself is what truly mattered in the end, what I will be taking with me in the long run and what I appreciated while I was there. As for theatre, I started that too!