How to Adult
Are colleges fully preparing graduates to be competent adults and professionals? This is an ongoing debate among employers, educators and students. According to a survey conducted by PayScale in 2016, only 50 percent of the employers who were surveyed agreed that college graduates had the skills, such as critical thinking and attention to detail that were necessary to succeed in the workplace (CBS, 2016). To support Georgia State’s efforts to prepare students to transition from college to adult life, Disability Services, in collaboration with the Multicultural Center and Career Services, hosted a multi-workshop event titled How to Adult on February 28, 2017. The event was intended to introduce interviewing, budgeting, tax preparation, resume building and how to manage work-life balance as relevant skills for students to start incorporating into their daily lives.
At the beginning of the event, employer representatives from Travelport and H&R Block participated in a panel session where students asked specific questions about interviewing. Employers spoke about certain traits that they look for in a potential employee, including professional appearance, the level of interest shown through energy and conversation and verbal and non-verbal communication skills. After the panel, students and employers were invited to enjoy lunch and then attend one of the four available sessions: budgeting, tax preparation, resume building and how to manage work-life balance
The budgeting session, led by a Northwestern Mutual employee Milton Patton, emphasized the importance of budgeting and saving. The skill set taught in this session focused on using critical thinking skills to solve complex financial problems. Budgeting was stressed as a way to avoid financial burden in general.
Saving a little bit every week is an important beginning to long term savings; once you all get into the habit of budgeting and setting money aside, you will reap the benefits of using those savings for other things that you enjoy.
~ Milton Patton
The tax preparation session facilitated by Frank Jordan from H&R Block focused on how to prepare state and federal tax forms once a job has been accepted. This session also stressed the importance of being able to communicate that one needs help.
Tax forms can be complicated for someone who has never completed them before; it is vital to communicate that you need assistance prior to submitting the tax forms, so that you are not getting more or less money taken than you anticipated.
~ Frank Jordan
The resume building session was jointly conducted by Ashley Watts from Career Services and Alison Carter from Travelport. Both presenters discussed the positives and negatives of detailed or succinct resumes. The skill set highlighted in this session was effective written communication. Watts asserted that every field of work is different when it comes to reviewing a resume. She underscored that condensing the resume and making it unique to the job to which one is applying is the most important.
The fourth session on work-life balance was conducted by Georgia State graduate assistants. It involved a fun, interactive game that highlighted the importance of various life obligations and the challenges associated with managing them all. The game was designed to enhance critical thinking skills by asking the participants to solve intricate life problems in creative ways.
Overall, the engagement of the students in the event exemplified their desire to learn to be successful adults. Attendees were asked to fill out a survey to provide feedback on the event and 66.67 percent of them reported that this event helped them develop valuable skills which will be beneficial in managing their adult life (Office of Disability Services, 2017). Participants commented in the survey that they felt more confident and informed on their next steps into becoming more independent fulfilled adults by attending the event.