Words of Wisdom: Tips for Success After Graduation
By Clara Gilleland
For students who are nearing the end of their time at Shenandoah University, there is typically one word on their minds: graduation. However, while many students know what they want to do career-wise after graduating, some are still unsure of what exactly they need to be doing to prepare for after graduation. This article will provide helpful tips for all Shenandoah University students, including those who are ready to graduate in the next few months, and those who still have a few years before their time at SU comes to an end.
One of the most beneficial resources for students at SU is Career Services. Located in Cooley Hall, and open to students Monday – Friday between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, their goal is to help provide tools for students to effectively navigate through their journey at SU, and to eventually graduate and be prepared to find success in their careers. Some of the help Career Services provides include worksheets and tips to help students create their resumes, tips for how to create a cover letter, resources for preparing for phone and in-person job interviews including sample questions and tips, and the Career Services Weekly. The Career Services Weekly is a weekly newsletter sent to students via email each Friday to update students on upcoming jobs and internships in a broad range of fields, including descriptions for the positions and contact information for the companies posting the positions. Career Services also provides resources to help students prepare for graduate school applications, including help with writing personal statements and preparing for admissions interviews. Career Services is a great resource for students, no matter how far along they are in their journey here at SU, to help them prepare for success after graduation.
Some of the leaders of the different departments at SU had some wise words for students preparing to graduate. Alan McKay, Ph.D., professor and dean for the Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, stated that a motto he likes to keep in mind is “fortēs Fortuna iuvat”, which translates from the Latin to mean “Fortune favors the brave.” His advice to graduates is to “pursue opportunities as they occur, and don’t be deterred by inexperience or a lack of money.” McKay went on to add, “passion and courage are highly valued in life and work.” Leslie F. Davidson, Ph.D., who serves SU as the Director of Occupation Therapy, said that success following graduation “lies in understanding the knowledge you have gained during your studies at SU is only the foundation to a lifetime of learning.” She advises students to “keep your mind open to people, experiences, and change,” “never become satisfied with all you know”, and “be kind, work hard, and love what you do.” Interim Director of the School of Education and Human Development Dennis Kellison, Ph.D., advises students to “not forget about your college professors or advisors.” These key figures during your time at SU “can still be your coach and mentor”, and even though you’ve graduated, Kellison states, “it doesn’t mean they don’t care about how you’re doing.” Timothy Ford, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Health Professions, reminds students to “remain flexible; your first position after graduation is unlikely to be your last!” He also advises students to “show that you are passionate about your work” when interviewing for a position. Finally, Miles K. Davis, Ph.D., Dean of the Business School, encourages students to “get to know yourself.” He explains that it is important to “understand who and what you are,” and says that this will “allow you to find work that enables you to blossom into your full potential.”
Whether you are planning to graduate from SU and start the next chapter of your life at the end of this semester, next spring, or three years from now, Career Services is a key resource to provide students with the tools and tips necessary to be successful after graduation. The words of wisdom from some of the leaders of the different programs at SU can help students to thrive in life, no matter when they plan to graduate. These resources and tips are tools for students to be able to get the most out of their time at SU, and to be ready to have a bright future in whichever field they plan to work in.