Seniors ‘STRIVE’ for post-grad success

The Etownian November 28, 2012 0

How do I manage my finances? Where will I live after I graduate? How will I find a job? These are all questions beginning to creep into the minds of seniors as they move closer and closer to graduation. Fortunately, Career Services has designed special events, just for seniors, to address many of these pressing issues.
Three years ago, ideas were developed to create a program to help seniors transition to life after college. Director of Career Services Jane Nini was one of the creators of the new program. “[The program] was designed after surveying seniors and working with a focus group to determine the top areas of concern to seniors,” Nini said. Then in the spring of 2010, the program, Senior Transitions: Realized, Identified, Visualized and Enacted (STRIVE), made its debut.
Each semester, STRIVE offers several workshops for seniors to attend. The majority of the events take place in the evening, where on- and off-campus speakers come to share their knowledge on subjects such as budgeting, renting and human resources benefits. “The programs are practical and address a mix of professional and personal topics,” Nini said. Refreshments, such as pizza and drinks, are also offered to those in attendance.
STRIVE also offers a mock interviewing program each year. Students are able to sign up to be interviewed by professional job recruiters. The mock interviews last about 45 minutes, and after the interview, the recruiter records comments on how the student performed. Students then meet with a career counselor from Career Services to review their results from the interview and discuss how they can improve in professional interviews.
So far this year, four STRIVE events have taken place. The program kicked off this semester with Interviewing Success. This workshop took place several days before the mock interviewing program to help students prepare for not only their mock interviews, but for future professional interviews as well.
After the interviewing workshops, the next STRIVE event was Social Networking and Your Job Search, presented by Elizabethtown College’s Integrated Marketing Manager Donna Talarico. Talarico presented on utilizing social networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, to keep in contact with professional connections and search for online job postings.
Nancy Florey, the College’s associate vice president for Human Resources, presented the final event of the semester entitled Understanding HR Benefits on Nov. 12. Florey provided students with the basics of comparing health insurance and retirement plans, while also explaining how these benefits relate to salary. Senior Johanna Goslin attended this and many other STRIVE events. “I was very worried about understanding the HR benefits because I had never heard of some of them,” Goslin said. “STRIVE events explained them and helped me understand what I could potentially be signing up for with a job.”
Senior Nicholas Clemens also learned a great deal from this event. “I know now that there’s a lot more that factors into a job decision than just the salary or pay,” Clemens said.
Although STRIVE is over for the semester, there are several events to look forward to in the spring. On Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. in Hoover 214, the first STRIVE event of 2013 will take place. A representative from Tabor Community Services will present Housing After Etown. Tabor helps residents of Lancaster County find solutions to housing and financial problems. At the workshop, students will have the opportunity to learn about the process of renting and buying properties.
Job Fair Success will be presented by Erica Smith, Group Talent Acquisitions Manager at Enterprise, on Jan. 28. at 6 p.m. in the KAV. Smith will give students an insider’s perspective on what recruiters look for at job fairs. Then on Feb. 5 at 5 p.m. in Hoover 214, Understanding Your Student Loans will be presented by Chris Mowl, the College’s assistant director of Financial Aid.
The Young Alumni Career Panel will take place Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in the KAV. This event will allow seniors to hear from recent alumni who are using their talents and skills in fulfilling careers.
The final STRIVE event will take place Feb. 18 at 5 p.m. in the KAV. A representative from Tabor will return to Etown to present Budgeting 101. Goslin hopes to learn new financial management skills at this event. “I am looking forward to the budgeting workshop because I’m not good at budgeting my money,” Goslin said.
Clemens also plans on attending. “I think budgeting and managing my finances will be very important after college and it is something I will increasingly think about,” Clemens said.
As their time in college winds down, Nini hopes seniors will realize the obstacles ahead and take advantage of the information STRIVE has to offer. “At some point, each graduate will need to evaluate HR benefits, think about housing options, develop a budget as well as transition to either employment or graduate school,” Nini said. “STRIVE is designed to assist students to face these challenges.”
Goslin and Clemens see the importance in attending these events and hope other seniors will take advantage of the information being offered to them. “STRIVE events give a lot of information about job hunting and ease the transition from graduation to entering the workforce,” Goslin said.
“We [seniors] have reached the point when we must be seriously considering what our plans are for after college,” Clemens said. “Regardless of whether those plans include searching for an advanced degree or employment, we need to consider the basics of living post-graduation. The depth of knowledge available to seniors at these events is unparalleled. STRIVE is an efficient and effective way of informing us about the important decisions we will increasingly be making.”

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