November 20, 2017

"5 Before 35" gives students glimpse of professional life

Cleveland State University's 1964 Society in partnership with the Young Alumni Council hosted a "5 Before 35" event on Wednesday, Nov. 8, showcasing university graduates thriving in their chosen career paths.
The event, which took place in the Student Center ballroom, hosted five Cleveland State graduates in five different careers.

From a lawyer working for Keybank to a doctor working at the Cleveland Clinic, the event featured a wide variety of careers for which the university offers majors.

The event featured Theophilus Hudson, a risk evaluation and assurance team member at Keybank, Ryan Aroney, the marketing and development director at United Way of Lorain County, Megan McGervey, an internal medicine resident at the Cleveland Clinic, Megan Zezzo, a national account manager at S&S Activewear and Rena Suhwail, a human resources generalist at Asurint.

At the beginning of the event, attendees, both alumni and students, were encouraged to network with the smartly-dressed folk around them, exchanging business cards and nibbling on the catering provided.
The panel discussion began 30 minutes into the event, beginning with conversation about the mistakes the panelists personally made when first entering the job market after graduating. The discussion then branched into how necessary it is to ask questions as a new employee.

Hudson said he learned the hard way that classes don't teach students everything and that, in his opinion, asking questions is key.

"When I first came out of law school I thought, 'Well, I'm smart. I know everything I need to know. I will just jump right into this job.' What I really found out is that school prepares you to be a good student and work experience prepares you to be good at whatever you will be working in," Hudson said. "Once I really started to ask questions and not being afraid to ask questions, I think I started to excel in terms of my career."

When asked to give advice to students in the audience, the panelists talked about the importance of being able to work in teams, ensuring that the company offering a position possesses the right culture fit for the person in question, and encompassing and assuring employers of your passion.
One panelist touched on the importance of loving what you do so that you will want to wake up and go to work every day.

"[Companies] can teach you the skills that you need to be successful in that job,” Zezzo said. “But they can't teach you the passion, they can't give you that passion to be excited to come into work."

After discussing topics such as the importance of internships and negotiating your salary, the panelists ended with the many struggles that millennials face in the job market, one joking that there are a million.

Calling it the 'millennial eye roll', they discussed the stereotype that recent graduates face of being in the generation that some dismiss as lazy and entitled, and what to do to combat it. One way that they suggest is to set yourself apart and keep proving them wrong.

"People are going to expect you to be lazy and to communicate via snapchat, emojis and not be reliable," Aroney said. "Being conscious of that, breaking through that, being reliable and being, what stereotypically you are supposed not to be, will show that you are strong in those areas."

After the panel discussion ended, the panelists walked from the stage to mingle with those students and alumni who attended, and talked in more detail about the areas that they had briefly touched on when in front of the microphone. 


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