Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beyond the Gates: What Exactly is It?

College is a place where you learn lots of math and science that you'll never use again, but are left ill-equipped to deal with life after graduation right? Welcome to Sewanee, a place that completely defies this stereotype.

Beyond the Gates is a weekend hosted by Sewanee's Career & Leadership Development office that takes place the weekend right before the spring semester starts. The purpose of this weekend is to equip juniors and seniors with various valuable skills and pieces of advice that'll help us after the much dreaded graduation; these include anything from which wine to order at a business dinner, how to interview effectively, how to negotiate an apartment lease, and even how to get noticed in the workplace. One of the most fantastic things about this workshop is that it is entirely free of charge. Various alumni and parents of students of Sewanee: The University of the South fly down at their own expense to participate in this workshop on a volunteer basis.

Students are paired in small groups with a mentor, and attend various practice interviews, networking breaks, and panels over the course of the weekend. The Friday dinner this year had an exceptionally inspirational speaker who was a former Sewanee student, Maryetta Anschutz, who spoke about how she'd gone on from a privileged background to opening a school that would take in the rich and the poor alike, and her journey along the way. The applause at the end of her talk was loud and strong, and yet another reminder of the incredible potential that students here have, and that Sewanee fosters.
The next day at lunch time, we got to hear from recent Sewanee graduates and how their experience has been.

Personally, this was my second time attending this weekend, and I had a fantastic time both years. The person who was assigned to be my mentor last year has remained in touch, and has been an extremely valuable resource over the course of the year, in helping me identify various job opportunities and polishing up my resume and LinkedIn profile. One of my interviewers last year learned that I was interested in being an entrepreneur eventually, and paid for me to have a year-long subscription to a magazine for entrepreneurs. This year too, I got to network with lots of great alumni who gave me great feedback that I will be using during my job search.

It was fantastic being able to meet so many people who even years or decades after graduation, still have such obvious affection for this place and the greater 'Sewanee family' as some of us like to call it.
I may be about to graduate, but I know that I can't wait to be here for Beyond the Gates as an alumni already!
YSR

(This post is also on Sewanee's Office of Admission blog http://admission.sewanee.edu/blog/beyond-the-gates )

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