Last spring, the Anderson University Alumni Office presented seniors with informational sessions about the world waiting for them. Titled “Life After AU,” the four sessions were a new addition this year and discussed a variety of topics ranging from workplace attire to professional networking. AU alumni participated in the sessions and answered questions from current students.
“From time to time, I hear young alumni say they felt AU prepared them very well for the workplace or graduate school, but that they still had some surprises and adjustments on dealing with other real-life issues,” said Ben Davis, director of alumni relations. “More than once, I have heard someone say ‘I wish there was a class on just learning how to be an adult,’ so we built Life After AU. There is good, important information out there that we want students to know.”
Life After AU sessions began Feb. 6 with a discussion on budgeting, buying a car, and the importance of insurance. In the next session, seniors heard about balancing work and life, managing online reputations, and networking with professionals. The topics and alumni panelists were chosen with careful detail and consideration.
“The most important role I played has much more to do with my age,” said Kasey Kohlmorgen, annual fund manager at AU. “Being the youngest person on our team, I was able to provide personal testimony about what our young graduates need to know. Our panel topics came from the conversations about what I didn’t know after graduation.”
The third session of Life After AU addressed investing money, managing debt, and renting versus owning a home. In this session, students asked the panelists for tips on paying back student loans. The last session, titled “How to get a million bucks and look like a million bucks,” highlighted the importance of etiquette and dressing to impress.
“It’s the first year we’ve done this program, but overall, we see it as a success,” said Kohlmorgen. “If we have helped even one senior be more successful after graduation, we’ve accomplished our goal.”
After each session was over, students were able to stamp a “passport,” signifying that they attended that evening’s event. At the end of Life After AU, seniors were invited to attend a dinner at Stone Creek in Noblesville, Ind. Those who had attended every Life After AU session were able to attend the dinner for free.
The Alumni Office plans to continue Life After AU again next spring and hopes it will become an annual event to help each senior class.
“Through these sessions, I learned that just because you graduate college, that doesn't mean you are an adult,” said Kelsi Hatheway, senior family science major. “You still have a lot of learning and growing up to do. In all of this, you learn who you are. I loved these seminars and think they were beneficial. I'm glad I was able to attend and learn some new things about life after graduation.”
Even though Life After AU has concluded, the lessons and advice from alumni will live on in those who participated. Students can apply the information as they transition into all aspects of life.
"Transitioning to 'real life' can be a scary time for young people," said Kohlmorgen. "We want to do all we can to make that as smooth as possible by providing needed information and resources to anyone who is willing to take the time to learn from us."
— Kayla Meid is a 2013 graduate of Anderson University, majoring in communication arts and theatre arts. Meid is an associate of Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.