(PHOTO CREDIT: STONYBROOK.EDU)
The Zebra Path reminds students that the university can help them find their way when it comes to their career prospects through its database, ZebraNet. (PHOTO CREDIT: STONYBROOK.EDU)

Whether you are a rising senior, graduate student or incoming freshman, you have all heard of or will hear about the ever-famous Zebra Path. Thousands of Stony Brook students walk on that little strip of concrete between Frank Melville Library, the Chemistry building and Frey Hall on a daily basis. We admire its uniqueness and mock its wackiness. What we often do not realize, however, is the true purpose of the Zebra Path.

For starters, it is definitely not there for aesthetic reasons. It is safe to say that the campus might just be prettier without it. However, it is not there for no reason at all.

The real purpose of the path is actually quite simple: it is a reminder. It reminds students that this university can help you find that opportunity you are looking for through the remarkably underused database, ZebraNet.

I know that everyone is told what ZebraNet is during freshman or transfer orientation and may even have some practice with it before school starts, but if you are anything like a normal college student, this type of information that is not pertinent to a class or specific subject goes in one ear and out the other. Sometimes, however, it is this type of information that is actually the most important. Of course grades are vital, but it is often the experiences we have in our lives that help us get farther.

This is where ZebraNet comes in. It is a tool that is available to both current students and alumni to explore opportunities in any field of work. ZebraNet can get you in touch with employers, researchers and volunteer outlets that will teach you things that school alone could never offer.

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It is as simple as visiting the Career Center website, clicking on the ZebraNet Database link, signing in with your NetID and password and simply browsing through whichever category  interests you. Once you have picked a category, all you have to do is toggle through the hundreds of jobs, internships and other opportunities available and select one or more that is best for you. More often than not, the employer already wrote down vital information about the position they wish to fill, and they often ask for a resume, email or phone call, or all three to convey your interest to them.

I sometimes tell people who ask about my current job and I find that nine times out of ten, they are incredibly interested and want to know where in the world I found such an opportunity. When I tell them it was through ZebraNet, they are immediately astonished. They say things like, “I had no idea our school could help with that” or “Wow. I did not know anyone even used ZebraNet.”

I know many of us like to find opportunities on our own, but many struggle to do so in the first place. There is no shame in getting some help, especially from the world-class institution you pay thousands of dollars to to attend. So if you are looking for something to put on your resume, some extra cash, or maybe even just an unforgettable experience, check out ZebraNet and take advantage of what Stony Brook has to offer you.

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