On the evening of March 25, six Oakland grads returned to their old stomping grounds to attend an Alumni Panel and give current Rec Employees some advice on networking, obtaining a job, and being overall productive members of society.
But these weren’t just any alumni. These Golden Grizzlies all worked at the Rec while completing their undergraduate degrees and credit their positions at the Rec as their first “professional” jobs. Panelists ranged from former lifeguards, fitness attendants, welcome center attendants, building managers, intramural supervisors and program assistants.
Today, these professionals work in fields such as teaching, nursing, fitness coordinating, social work, marketing, and social media coordinating, but they haven’t forgotten the lessons they’ve learned from their time at the Rec. For example, several panelists described conflict management, time management, and communication as skills they learned at the Rec that they still use today.
In addition, panelists shared their experiences with choosing a major, what a “normal day” in their job looks like, and what they would change about their time at OU. Current employees were also able to ask questions of the panelists about their specific fields.
Here are some of the tips offered to the current Rec employees who attended the event. Feel free to use them yourself!
- Take advantage: Always embrace opportunities to network and learn from people already in your field
- Shake everyone’s hand: You never know who will be the contact who gets you a chance at your dream job
- Frame your experiences: Turn experiences you’ve had at part-time jobs or internships into stories that demonstrate your skills and personality to potential employers
- Gain real world experience: Your GPA is obviously important, but in many fields, experience in internships or other jobs trump a high GPA
- Think before committing: Don’t just take the first job opportunity that comes your way; make sure you will be happy doing that job for years to come
- Don’t feel like you have to go to Graduate School: Some career fields prefer you have real world experience over another degree. On the other hand, it can be a huge advantage in some fields. Do some research and know your field’s stance on education beyond undergrad before committing (or ruling out) grad school
- Have more fun: College is about preparing yourself for the future, but once those four (or five, or six) years are up, you’re out in the “real world” where ample opportunities for fun aren’t as abundant. Learn to balance being a student, future professional and social butterfly.
- Stop stressing: As one panelist said, “You’re going to be fine, you’re going to make it.” All the students in attendance that night needed to hear that; tell yourself this on a daily basis.
As you can see, the Rec employees who attended this panel received some great advice. Thank you to these students for taking this important step toward futures so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.
Finally, thank you to all of our panelists: Patrick Shrader, Lyndsey Clements, Shanon L. Mapp, Erica Hirsch, Jackie Carline and Jason Kepsel!
If you’re interested in working at the Rec, gaining experience that will help you in your future, and having access to great opportunities like future Alumni Panels, please visit: http://www.oakland.edu/campusrec/employment