March 21, 2018

Lanai seniors make post-graduation plans

Life after high school graduation offers many new opportunities for Lanai’s young adults. Some may continue their education, heading to school on neighbor islands or the mainland. Others may enter the workforce here on Lanai, serve in the military or follow their passions elsewhere. The possibilities are virtually endless.

No matter where they go, seniors are well prepared for what lies ahead. As LHES academic guidance counselor Elizabeth Conroy-Humphrey notes, this year the counseling office has seen its largest number of students seeking post-graduation advice.

“Students are more vocal and interested in researching college, careers and military service,” Conroy-Humphrey said.

Preparing for the real world

At the counseling office, Conroy-Humphrey and counseling office assistant Sherry Magaoay make sure students know about all their options after graduation. Conversations about what to do after high school start as early as the sixth grade, with students encouraged to visit the office regularly throughout middle and high school.

By senior year, each student works on putting together a resume and personal essay, which provides a solid foundation for starting college applications or entering the working world.

The counselors also look for ways to help students gain real-world experience. For the third year, the school partnered with Pulama Lanai to give all 41 seniors the opportunity to participate in mock interviews at Pulama Lanai’s central offices.

Students filled out an employment application, dressed to impress in professional attire, and put their best foot forward in front of a panel of managers from different departments: hospitality, healthcare, IT and more. The mock interviews were designed to give students the experience of a real job interview and provide a firsthand lesson on the importance of making a good impression.

After each interview, students received feedback from their peers and interviewers that pointed out their strengths and areas for improvement. Conroy-Humphrey feels the experience gives students an invaluable opportunity to improve their communication and ability to connect with potential employers.

“Seniors from previous years have mentioned that the feedback has helped them prepare for important interviews for a job, scholarship or college,” she said.

Wise words for the class of 2018

With weeks left until seniors don their caps and gowns for graduation, Conroy-Humphrey urges the class of 2018 to explore their passions and take risks as they move on to the next stage of their lives.

For college-bound students, she offers the following advice:

  • Utilize resources on campus: tutoring, professor office hours, career counselors, etc.
  • Be safe and smart about the choices you make socially.
  • Take advantage of internship opportunities.
  • Seize every opportunity to meet new people and take part in campus activities that interest you: clubs, sports, speakers, book readings and live music.
  • Enjoy your time in college — it will go by quickly.

Here are her top tips for students entering the workforce:

  • Be open to learning from your co-workers and bosses. Accept feedback graciously and learn as much as you can.
  • If you do not like your job, stay positive and continue to work hard. You may find that it just takes time to adjust, or you can use the experience you’ve gained to look for new opportunities while you’re still working.
  • Ask if your employer has a retirement plan. It’s never too early to get into the habit of saving money.
  • Think about your career path, what you want to do in five or ten years. Take steps that will help you get to that point, such as taking on a leadership opportunity, learning a new skill or volunteering.
  • Get on LinkedIn, update your resume frequently and network.
  • Keep inappropriate photos and posts off social media. Be mindful of what you’re putting out there for employers to see.

Most of all, Conroy-Humphrey encourages students to challenge themselves and keep an open mind. “I’m so excited for what’s in store for the class of 2018. I can’t wait to follow what they’re up to in the next few years and see where their education or career takes them.”

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