The number one concern for most students in college is whether or not their education will lead to actual employment. To alleviate these concerns, many colleges invite alumni to return and speak to their students about the careers they’ve enjoyed after graduation. Graduates come to share their experiences and students gain exposure to individual success stories from recent graduates within their field. The Alpena Community College Medical Assistant Program in Alpena, Michigan, took advantage of this at the end of October when they invited Medical Assistant graduates to a dinner on campus.
The alumni were scattered at tables across a crowded dining hall of excited students, ready to answer questions from the curious rookies. Every table had at least one medical assistant, and they spent the night being inundated with questions from curios students. Alumni were able to address questions about what the field is actually like and what parts of their education continued to be helpful after graduating.
Beyond just answering questions, the event was also intended to build relationships. Students seeking mentorship exchanged contact information with some of the more helpful alumni, hoping to continue the conversation after the dinner was over. Alumni were happy to oblige and many said that they would love to have another event like the dinner.
Medical Assistant Program Director Kimberly Salziger said, “Everybody that I asked if they were interested in coming back and doing this were pretty excited, and they like the thought too, that they’re going to get to see some of the people they wnt to school with and maybe haven’t seen in awhile.”
Events like these do more than just start a conversation. They also help students to feel as if they are part of a community. Getting the chance to interact with their future colleagues is encouraging to students from a career perspective and from a personal one. Hopefully, Alpena Community College will continue to hold successful events like this for years to come.