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The pizza ‘n’ wings-slinging AU eatery graciously called “The Tavern” looks nothing like the old timey Colonial Williamsburg-esque mock-ups. With prison-issue seating, electric blue backlighting and neon red, orange and (more) blue-lit ceiling reliefs, it looks like a hospital cafeteria masquerading as a Berlin nightclub.

But it’s here that Tony, a graduating senior and Print Journalism major, chooses to take a moments’ respite from the day’s demands. In a bright blue sweater vest and black slacks (that article of clothing that screams “take me seriously”), he looks out of place among the motley crew of jeans and AU T-shirts.

Checking his e-mail on his MacBook and Blackberry every five minutes, he pays little attention to his friends he met for lunch. In fact, he’s not eating anything. Since 10:30 a.m., (it’s now 4 p.m.) he’s been running on coffee he guzzled before a job interview earlier this afternoon, and half a salad consumed while discussing media strategies after he arrived.

“Actually, it was an ‘informational interview,'” Tony clarified. “Basically, to find out what kind of opportunities the company offers and to network.”

Schmoozing and self-promoting, it seems, are Tony’s main extracurricular activities these final months before his graduation in May.

In the current economic and technological clime, expensive print publications are in peril. Which means graduating students with degrees in Print Journalism are also in trouble. Tony knows this, and he’s been applying for jobs, internships and scholarships like his life depends on it. And to some degree, it does. As for his “informational interview”?

“I thought it went really well,” he said. “I mean, you don’t get a job out of informational interviews. But I was able to shamelessly promote myself.”

Tomorrow: more interning, applying and coffee guzzling.