What does leadership mean to you? Do you know what your purpose in life is? These questions and more were asked when I attended Oz Leads’ first ever “Next Step” Skill Building Workshop on Jan. 20. Honestly, this event was much different than what I expected.
The day started with a workshop set up by a speaker from Collegiate Empowerment. The workshop was not just another boring lecture or continuous Q&A about leadership and how to prepare for life after college. Instead, our speaker, Joe, motivated the crowd of about 20-30 students with his enthusiasm and interactive activities (which included A LOT of high fives). My biggest takeaway from Joe’s lecture was his point about how we are not measured by our “Grade Point Average” after college (but don’t, like, fail all your classes). Rather, we are measured by our “Real GPA,” which helps us move toward our goal after college. Joe breaks down the “Real GPA” with three words: Genius (what we’re best at), Passion (what we love), and Achievement (what’s meaningful to us).
During lunch, we were encouraged to sit with recruiters from the different companies that were there, including Target, Verizon, and the Peace Corps. I had a wonderful conversation with a lady from Theater Du Jour, a small dinner theater group from the Central NY area.
After the second part of Joe’s presentation was over, everyone broke off into four different breakout sessions (we had to pick two out of the four sessions). The first breakout session I went to focused on how to overcome obstacles as we go forward in our careers. This session was lead by Oswego alumnus Phyllis Moore Holloway (’76), a former administrator from the Syracuse City School District who now serves as the volunteer Interim Director for Dunbar Center. Her discussion hit close to me, especially when she explained some of the problems she had to solve. Many of her situations were ones my parents, who are both teachers (my dad retired from teaching almost three years ago), may have had to face during their career.
The second breakout session I went to focused on how your major doesn’t define you and how you can find jobs outside of your major. This session, led by Career Services Associate Director Mallory Bower (whose focus is more on business, communication, STEM, and healthcare industries), stemmed away from the original discussion to focus more on how we can better our resume and cover letter to fit a certain job description, regardless if it fits our major or not. Bower’s big takeaway: “Don’t be well rounded. Be amazing at a few things.”
The day ended with another brief networking session with the representatives from the companies. I had a good chat with a recent Oswego alumnus who works at Enterprise Holding, as well as a recruiter from the company.
Overall, the workshop was a fantastic day and extremely helpful for everyone who attended, regardless of major and whether he or she had a leadership position on campus. It’s definitely an event I would recommend anyone to go to next year in order to prepare for your “next step” after graduation.