How to get through college on time and find a job in your field

Morgan Galloway

Leaving high school and entering college can be one of the most stressful periods in any young adult’s life. One of the most important things a freshman should be worried about is how they’re going to get through college on time and find a job at the end of those four years.

Career counselor Kelly Stillwagon shared her expertise to conquer these obstacles.

“Have an A plan and a B plan,” Stillwagon said. “Have a fallback major that you’re thinking about still, no matter how secure you are.”

Stillwagon said she suggests this because sometimes students have a hard time maintaining the grade point average necessary for a certain major.

“It’s very important to be realistic,” she said. “If a student is struggling, struggling, struggling with a freshman-level class, what are they going to do with a senior-level class?”

Stillwagon said students should get real-world experience in whatever field they choose to pursue.

“Experience in the field is always a good thing,” said Patrick Iafelice, a Kent State justice studies graduate. “Then you know what you’re getting yourself into or not getting yourself into.”

Not all majors require internships, but that doesn’t mean students shouldn’t obtain one. Internships are a great résumé builder and a great way to get experience.

“Think about your competition when you graduate,” Stillwagon said. “Employers aren’t looking to see if you worked three jobs while you were in college. They want to see the experience you have.”

Some students have had difficulties getting jobs after graduating because of incidents that occurred when they were young.

University of Akron graduate Carly Fidel said when she graduated, she interviewed for a marketing position at Pepsi Americas.

“I actually had to go through the application and interview processes twice,” Fidel said. “Pepsi was going to have to insure me because I would be doing so much driving for the job, but I had too many points on my license. I had to wait until some points dropped off and then apply again.”

Students should also construct their résumé early in their college careers.

“I graduate in August and I just made my first résumé,” said senior community health major Anna Coates. “I sent it to Career Services and they tore it apart.”

Stillwagon stressed the importance of using the resources Kent State has to offer, like Career Services and the Center for Student Involvement.

“We’ll help you network, find internships, find jobs, build a résumé, build a cover letter,” she said. “One of the biggest things we help with is interviewing.”

Students can set up a time with Career Services to go in and do a mock interview. They get dressed up in a suit just like they would for an interview and get asked potential interview questions by a career counselor. During the session, the career counselor will tell the student what they did well and what needs work.

“That résumé gets you to the interview,” Stillwagon said. “But that interview gets you to the job.”

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Morgan Galloway at [email protected].