Ramapo alumni offer advice to graduating seniors

Photo courtesy of Mohammad Shahhosseini, Unsplash

Ramapo College welcomed back visiting alumni who have returned to advise graduating seniors on life after Po. These alumni panelists all graduated within the last 16 years and had some amazing guidance for students to take into consideration before moving on from our beloved small valley school.

Matthew Searfoss, Lindsay Perrotti, Greg Boyer, Monica Coniglio and Heather Mueger had much to say about what it was like to leave Ramapo, their journey to figuring out themselves and establishing themselves in a workplace. It’s no doubt that leaving college and having to figure out where to go after can be intimidating, to say the least. Thankfully, these alumni were here to add ease in our transition from undergrad to post grad life. 

Students asked panelists a wide range of work-related and postgraduate lifestyle questions. One student asked about how their experience at Ramapo helped them find their position after graduation along with any particular classes, activities or internships that help the process.

Perrotti said there were many classes that helped her excel in her work environment. She mentioned how The New TV Criticism class helped her understand things in a different light for her career choices. She also mentioned how her senior project is something she still talks about to this day.

Coniglio mentioned how much the Research Writing Methods class with Professor David Oh turned out to have the most real-life applications in her field.

A major question was how they got started in the field they're in and what advice would they have for someone interested in starting out in a similar field, especially as a recent graduate.

Searfoss assured students that it is very possible to break in at an entry level position after graduation. A masters degree is not necessary, but work experience is definitely going to propel you forward. Mueger backed up Searfoss’ statement by giving advice on the importance of networking and internships.

Boyer took into consideration how the economy and job market can give employers the upper hand when it comes to landing a job. He reminded students to keep calm during an interviewing process and have in mind that it is just a two-way conversation. He advised students to always ask the interviewer questions about the position as it is very important that you know what you are applying for in full. When it comes to doing internships, this can be the opportunity for you to realize what you like and dislike about your career choice. 

Coniglio advised students who are applying to jobs to do background research on the job through websites like Glassdoor. This can help you look over what other people had to say about their experience working with or interviewing for the company, and even tailor the questions you might want to ask during your interview. 

Another student asked the alumni what practical habits they recommend to help them prepare for future careers.

Searfoss suggested getting into the habit of making a to-do list for the week, even if it’s little things in order to list out your priorities. He said getting into this routine will help you build great habits and make you hit the ground running in a job.

Mueger backed Searfoss' statement up and reminded everyone to make sure these to-do lists are realistic because it’s easy to end up taking on more than you can handle at once. 

As far as talking about what working virtually is like, every panelist agreed that they did not mind working from home aside from needing to establish boundaries when it came to being on-the-clock and off-the-clock. Nearly all of them expressed how easy it is to lose track of when it is time to stop working because they were already at home and there was nothing else to do. This is one of the many ways to experience burnout in the workplace.

There is heavy excitement running through the class of 2021 as they come to the end of this spring semester, so this informative panel helped relay tips about the workplace to graduating seniors. On behalf of many graduating seniors and professors here at the college, we are so grateful to have fellow Ramapo alumni return to the college and provide us with their experiences after graduation.