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Over lunch, staff offer seniors tips on post-graduation life

02.04.15
By: Mark Tarnacki
aislinn doyle

Series organizer Aislinn Doyle

A five-session "Brown-Bag Lunch Series" between now and late April for senior-year students at Saint Michael's College, organized by volunteer presenters from the College's professional staff, will offer "Advice for Life after Graduation."

The first session of the series on February 2 was titled, "Listening to your Inner Voice: the Path after College," presented by two staffers who also are alumni: Kate Floyd '06, assistant director of MOVE (the volunteer service arm of Edmundite Campus Ministry), and Kendra Smith '09, payroll specialist.

Topics for coming sessions are "Tips and Tricks for Your Post-College Adventure" (noon, Dion Center Digital Lounge, by Katherine Hackett '11, assistant director of admission, and Meghan Sweezey '10, assistant director for parent and alumni relations); "Fiscal Responsibility in the Real World" (noon, Dion Digital Lounge, by Melissa Tourville, assistant controller, and Matt Seklecki '11, assistant director of admission); "How to Adjust to a New Workplace" (noon, St. Edmund's Hall Farrell Room #315, by Chad Ahern '99, donor relations officer, and Michael Stefanowicz '09, assistant director of admission); and "Workplace Etiquette: Learning from Institutional History and E-Etiquette (Noon, Farrell Room, by  Kathleen Berard, individual and gift planning officer, and Aislinn Doyle, career development counselor).

It was Doyle who dreamed up and the idea for the series and got the ball rolling with an exploratory email earlier this year, motivated by her career development work and activity in a campus group of young professional staff.

Kate Floyd, a presenter for the first session, said the first discussion was informal in tone, "which is really a benefit of what these lunchtime seminars can bring to students." Once she and Kendra Smith shared their personal stories about following their "inner voices" it "prompted students to share stresses and worries and concerns on their minds -- there was space for discussion around how to work through your stress while still a student leading up to graduating," she said.

Floyd shared how her own notions changed quickly after graduation about the work she might be most suited to: She'd first planned to join the Peace Corps based on overseas volunteer experiences in college, but changed to AmeriCorps after talking with her closest supporters and looking deep inside herself, realizing that social work closer to home really was where her heart was. She wasn't even looking for a job when her Saint Michael's opportunity came along, she says, which is not an uncommon scenario and seemed important to share with the students. Floyd, Smith and students at the session "talked about finding meaningful employment, work you really care about," addressing "the myth that graduates should expect any certain thing when they graduate."

Hackett and Sweezey say they want to discuss how seniors can "make your year after graduation a fun adventure, not a scary afterlife." Tourville and Seklecki hope to address "using credit responsibly, including managing credit cards and student loans." Ahern and Stefanowicz would like to emphasize "how patience, learning, asking, networking and teaching (P.L.A.N.T.) can help you better acclimate to your first job and set you up for future success." Berard and Doyle plan to tell student how to "learn how to balance honoring the institutional history of your employer and still make your own mark," and they also will answer such questions as "Do you accept your new supervisor's friend request on Facebook? Is it okay to vent about your frustrating co-worker on Twitter? What is proper email etiquette with your colleagues? … and more."

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