Each year around this time, FLOC partner College Summit organizes a Career Week, bringing professionals from the community into high school classrooms and after-school workshops to share their journeys through high school, college, and the world of work. Last Wednesday, as part of this effort, three professionals from Deloitte, Blackboard, and Howard University volunteered an hour of their evening to visit the FLOC Scholars 10th grade workshop. One by one, the panelists spoke of overcoming challenges in high school in order to get to and succeed in college and career.
One of the panelists instantly scored points with a student when she said she attended Woodrow Wilson High School, where he currently attends. She spoke of how academic mentors, professional connections, and her personal persistence helped her realize her potential, turn around her grades, and obtain jobs working with students after college. Her words of wisdom were well-received; she encouraged the students to take advantage of the opportunities that a college access and success program like FLOC provides.
The second panelist caught the attention of the students when she told her story of changing course; she started school wanting to be a doctor, but when she struggled in her chemistry class, she decided to change her major and become a personal trainer instead. And after graduation she was exposed to work and new experiences abroad and then made her transition into the field of consulting. She taught the students the importance of adapting but never giving up when our paths get rocky – and they will get rocky.
And last but not least, the third panelist lent her perspective about college life to the students. Although she emphasized the importance of time management, she also explained how college coursework was more interesting, thus allowing her to grow as a person. After college, she landed a job at a growing company and, before long, was recognized for her good work and promoted to a management position. She also demonstrated her love for learning, sharing that she is currently working toward a master’s degree.
After listening attentively, the students jumped at the chance to ask the panelists questions about their future goals and dreams. After an engaging hour of high school, college, and career talk, it was clear that the work the students had been doing all year was paying off. The 10th grade students were more eager than ever to get back to work on their “10 Year Plan”, researching and preparing for how their own path might play out over the next decade.
(Jessie Garrett is a Scholars Program Instructor at FLOC).