Last year, the Alumni Office in collaboration with Dr. Tracie Burke (Professor of Behavioral Science and Director of the Honors Program) piloted a Life After College class with the simple goal of making CBU students’ transition into the “real” world a little bit easier. The course was created and taught by CBU alumni and was such a smashing success, that it is being offered again in January. We caught up with Dr. Burke, CBU alumnus Burton Bridges (Business Administration ’09) and current student Andrea Guyton (Psychology ’13) to learn a little bit more about the class and why you should probably be taking it.
Tell us a little bit about the Life After College class?
Burke: Life After College is an 8-week, non-credit class for current juniors and seniors and taught by CBU alumni. The course has several main components– graduate school, getting a job, your first 90 days on the job, a four-part financial component including sessions on student loans, savings and investment, credit and credit scores, and housing. We finish with a very motivating session offered by CBU alumna Maria Lensing (Electrical Engineering ’01; MSEM ‘07) on remaining Lasallian, which made many of last year’s students cry. Her talk helped students understand how special their CBU Lasallian education really is. Last year’s students gave the course very good reviews and thought it was very valuable. So we are doing it again this year!
How did this idea come about?
Burke: A few years ago I did a consulting project with people in the community who were taking Financial Literacy classes and I thought that students at CBU needed this too. That thought evolved into this Life After College class. Burton (Bridges), Jenny Cowell (Instructor, Management/Marketing/Economics) and Karen Viotti (Director of Alumni & Annual Giving) got involved in developing the full concept for the class.
Bridges: There has been a great team of alumni putting this course together. The information is organized in a very neat way and everyone comes to their session very prepared, the instructors are not shooting from the hip. They have sifted through a lot of information, they have read the materials and have tons of resources for you.
Andrea, you have already signed up for the class? Can you tell us why and which part you are most excited about?
Guyton: I am graduating a semester early in December of 2013 and this class sounded like just what I needed. I am most looking forward to the financial component of the course, especially the student loan part. I want to know how to go about paying down my loans. If I am employed, do they take a certain amount out of my paycheck? I just want to hear the facts versus the myths; I want to learn how I can save money, too.
Burke: When we first offered the course, we realized that the financial component was too short. Students had so many questions! This year, we had to make the sessions longer. Instead of 50, this year we’ll have 75-minute meetings and hope to have enough time for more questions and answers.
Why did you decide to get CBU alumni involved in the class?
Bridges: When I graduated, I had intended to live at home and didn’t even think about looking for my own place. But then, two or three months in, I had to leave. I was very unprepared and had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what questions to ask, I was very scared. I am excited to be a part of this class and help students who are about to go through that very similar experience.
Burke: It’s great that the instructors are all young alumni, which makes them extremely valuable as course instructors. They are very relatable to the students; they know what it’s like to have graduated from CBU. Their advice is very current and practical.
Bridges: I am teaching the “First 90 Days on the Job” class. I feel very strongly about it because while you are a student and while you are looking for a job, all your focus is centered on finding a job. But, to me, there is so much more involved in becoming successful professionally. Most students don’t know that those first three months on the job are often considered a probation period where you can just be let go from your job if it’s not working out for your employer. So, in the class I talk about the need to have very high expectations every time you meet someone, nobody is too high or too low, everyone is very important in the workplace. Those first 90 days are critical!
Guyton: I am really excited about the format of the course. In other universities, you can take a webinar or online course but this is truly unique. Not only are you getting all this information, but you also get to network with alumni and you are getting so much valuable material for absolutely free!
To learn a little bit more about the class, see the full course description HERE. To sign up, simply fill out the ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM.