For college students, it can be very intimidating to think about entering the “real world.” Most Elon University students will agree that they are perfectly comfortable in the “Elon Bubble.” It’s daunting to think that one day friends won’t be a short walk across campus, that unlimited swipes to the dining halls will cease to exist.
To help students transition into the post-grad world, the course “Life After Elon” is offered.
Rhonda Kosusko, associate director of career services, said the course incorporates the Revson series, which includes eight different lectures to help students learn strategies, such as finding a job, networking skills, personal finance and health and wellness.
The series was developed by consulting experts in different topic areas, who helped create a curriculum for the course.
“The course is important in helping students become more aware of the issues that they will face post-graduation, as well as how to manage their lives after Elon,” Kosusko said.
In addition to the “Life After Elon” course, which is a one-credit elective, a corresponding series is being hosted throughout this month at The Station at Mill Point.
Latisha Taylor, career advising fellow at the student professional development center, taught the “Life after Elon” course during the fall and over Winter Term as well as presenting “The Ins and Outs of Negotiating” at Mill Point.
“Mill Point students are normally juniors and seniors, so we wanted to bring a program that would be geared toward what they will encounter post-graduation,” Taylor said. “We selected bits and pieces from the ‘Life After Elon’ course to bring to Mill Point students.”
The Mill Point series includes three of the Revson lectures, including personal finance, negotiating and insurance, as well as a session devoted to preparing for graduate school.
Taylor led a session with career advising fellow Beth Mannella about negotiating skills.
“Our thought process was to not only talk to students about salary negotiating, but to make a more holistic approach to negotiation, whether it’s your car, buying an apartment or making big purchases online,” Taylor said. “We don’t encourage students to negotiate their salary right out of college, but to be prepared for negotiating with jobs in the future.”
The negotiating session also included strategies for relocation — for example, if a job required relocating from North Carolina to California, students learned how to negotiate paying for relocation costs.
Taylor wants the sessions to go beyond the classroom.
“Students should not simply listen to the strategies like a lecture and retain the information, but apply it to their everyday lives,” she said.
While “Life After Elon” gives students the opportunity to learn transition strategies into the real world, it is still nerve-racking for them to think about venturing out of their comfort zones, something that Elon has given them for four years.
“I’m most afraid of the loss of the Elon safety net,” said junior Danielle Dulchinos. “After Elon I’m on my own to not only move to a new city, but to get a job and live without any school or parental support. I’m going from an academic environment, which is all I’ve known for the last 18 or so years, to the career world. It’s going to be a lot of changes at once, which is always scary.”
For others, it is the fear of the infinite possibilities that the “real world” offers.
“After I graduate in May of next year, I will have the world at my feet,” said junior Laura Todd. “As the phrase goes, it will be my ‘oyster.’ There are so many options that I can see in front of me, but amidst feelings of excitement over having so many opportunities, I can’t help but feel weighed down by the sheer immensity of the possibilities.”
For seniors, their impending graduation is rapidly approaching. Anxieties about future jobs, graduate school or moving to a new city may be overwhelming for some. But for others, Elon has prepared them to enter the post-grad world confidently.
“Elon has taught me how to be confident in my abilities as a leader, as a global citizen and as a friend,” said senior Rebecca Voelker. “While I may be preparing to leave the ‘Elon Bubble’ behind, I have no doubt that my relationships and experiences within this ‘bubble’ have set the foundation for me to be successful in the future.”