Life After College, a mini-conference held Wednesday and Thursday in the Henry Madden Library, advised more than 100 students on essential steps for after graduation, including managing debt, planning for graduate school and networking techniques.
Six panels with experts from respective backgrounds and experiences provided advice from managing money and payment plans on school and car loans to building a reputation for a productive career.
“Even if you’re not graduating anytime soon, that is something that is very important,” said Miriam Soto, career coach for Fresno State Career Services.
Soto, a first-year graduate student, said that Life After College has aided students for just short of a decade.
“Many of these students will walk away with essential life skills that we don’t learn in the classroom, but are still very important,” she said.
Helping students understand what lies ahead in their journey is what this mini-conference was all about, Soto said.
“Make sure you feel comfortable,” said Charles Kim, general manager of sales operations of the Pacific region for Volkswagen. Kim talked about his work at Volkswagen, describing affordable payment plans for vehicles for young adults.
“Again, second largest purchase in most people’s lives,” Kim said. “I’m in the car business, because it’s exciting.”
Kim walked students through the difference between leasing, financing, trading in and purchasing a new or used car. Although there is much to consider, Kim said purchasing a car should be a fun and rewarding moment in young lives.
Kim Thomas of First Marblehead discussed strategies for a healthy financial future by tackling debt.
While purchasing a car is indeed an expensive experience, Thomas said a college degree was the best investment in the long run.
“It won’t depreciate. It will only get better and better,” Thomas said.
Thomas told students about helpful online resources such as bankrate.com, an online calculator designed to help students develop a concrete evaluation of their debt, as well as how to change purchasing habits that may improve their overall financial longevity.
Ensuring that students get the right advice from those who are more than willing to share, Soto said it was an important, informative event for those who attended.
“I’m unsure about what I want to do, so this is good experience,” said Janet Vargas, a psychology major graduating in May who attended all three panels Wednesday afternoon. “They tell you what you need to do, so I think it’s very important.”