AMONG THE ALUMNI PARTICIPATING IN THE RAM-2-RAM ALUMNI CAREER SEMINAR WERE (FROM LEFT) CASEY PALMER TAYLOR (’12), KATIE WARREN WAUGH (’11), KYLE NEAL (’11), AND CALEB BITTLER (’13).
During the biannual event, the former Bluefield College students gave career advice, discussed topics related to life after college and in the work place, and answered other questions asked by current BC students.
“This is very beneficial for our students,” said Kelly Bittler, director of counseling and student activities, about the Ram-2-Ram event, “to hear first hand from people who graduated from this institution what their path looked like while they were a student and what it looked like for them after they graduated.”
Among the alumni participating in the Ram-2-Ram Alumni Career Seminar were Caleb Bittler (’13), Casey Palmer Taylor (’12), Kyle Neal, (’11), and Katie Warren Waugh (’11). Caleb Bittler, a Christian studies graduate pursuing a master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, is an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Princeton, West Virginia. Taylor, who studied communications at BC, is a program development director and event coordinator for the Virginia State Police’s Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO). Neal, also a Christian studies graduate, is an associate youth pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Princeton, West Virginia. And Waugh, a BC psychology major who earned a master’s degree from Gardner-Webb University, is a counselor for Forsyth Technical Community College.
“This is a great opportunity, because we get to know the struggle of former students of Bluefield College,” said current BC student Andres Palacio. “I believe that we are creating connections right now. They mentioned networking and connections will work in the real world, and I feel like this is a great opportunity to get to know people, maybe in the areas that you want to go in your career path.”
The alumni spoke about the importance of making connections and about the process and emotions of finding a job after college. They also shared thoughts on the challenges of pursuing and finding a job in the field you study.
“It’s not always glamorous when you’re starting out,” said Neal about the challenge of the job search process. “Jobs don’t just magically appear after we graduate.”
Neal also encouraged the current students to take advantage of internships, summer employment, and part-time jobs while still in college in order to get an idea of what to expect with employment after school.
“Don’t be afraid to use the connections that you have, either,” added Waugh. “Your first job isn’t always going to be your dream job.”
The alumni also gave advice for students preparing to graduate. Caleb Bittler encouraged the students to “maximize the relationships that you have,” while Taylor urged the students to “be patient and have faith.”
“It’s going to work out,” said Taylor. “The right job will happen. It may not be the dream job, the first one, but through your experiences and through the different jobs that you do take, you’ll figure out what you want to do. The right one will happen.”
Current BC student Aaron Swingle found it important in “knowing that your first job will probably not be your dream job and probably an entry way into a better job.” He also took away that, “internships are good for developing relationships. They can get you some basic experience in your field or in the world, in general.”
While much of the seminar had a forward focus on graduation and what to do once it’s time to think of jobs, there were also helpful tips for those not as ready to graduate, like freshmen Jacob Webster.
“I benefited from this because I’ve been indecisive about my major,” said Webster. “Some of the things they said just reassured me that it’s okay to add a major or switch majors and that it’ll work out in the end.
The college will host its next Ram-2-Ram Alumni Career Seminar during Homecoming in the fall of 2016. Alumni interested in being a part of the next session should contact Kelly Bittler by phone at 276-326-4256 or by email at [email protected].
“I think it’s important to hear other people’s experiences,” said Kelly Bittler, “because when you have that opportunity, hopefully, you are going to learn from it and take advantage of it and hear about things you could have done differently and apply that to you own life.”