On a rainy Saturday morning early in March, the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations hosted its second annual Life After Graduation event. The day provided students an opportunity to foresee the possibilities and potential road bumps they may encounter after graduating in May.
To reach out and educate the soon-to-be graduates, Alumni and Parent Relations partnered with the Office of Career Services, hosting three practical seminars on financial responsibility and opportunities, the importance of networking, and transitioning into the “real world” after years of studying at Azusa Pacific. Seniors participated in question-and-answer segments after each presentation and had the chance for further discussions over lunch.
“These three areas are essential life topics that don’t necessarily get covered often enough in the classroom,” said Kristi Hawkins ’01, assistant director of Alumni and Parent Relations.
Each topical session was hosted by teams of APU alumni, including Andrew Price ’10, and Justin Tyrrell ’13, both executives at Trilogy Financial, who led the session on financial management.
Price, who studied marketing and business management at APU, said those en route to graduation stand to benefit from knowledge about the outside world and all its responsibilities.
“Understanding how to approach money effectively can really help you with your goals and dreams,” said Price. “Soon-to-be grads should know they don’t have to graduate and be scared about student loans, income, or retirement. The more you grow and work outside of APU, the more the world is going to show you,” said Price.
Hawkins addressed another hurdle in adjusting to life after graduation during her session on the post-APU transition: Living in a secular world that does not include chapel three times a week and convenient, faith-integrated classes.
“You’re going to miss it!” said Hawkins. “I know you think you won’t, but you will.”
For graduates like Price, maintaining time for prayer and devotion is a key part of his routine. “Lately, I’ve been reading the Bible every day before I go into work. I read, I pray, and then I go in. If I didn’t have faith, then my life and career would be much less meaningful and oriented around myself rather than others.”
In the networking-focused session, representatives from Career Services and alumni volunteers emphasized the importance of community outreach and building bridges within recent graduates’ own “home bases.”
“There is power within your own network: mutual friends and contacts, mutual experiences, and core beliefs,” said Hawkins. “Recommendations from the APU network are powerful, because all of those mutual things allow you to trust the connection. You are both sharing from a common experience and place.”
The speakers encouraged graduating seniors to establish a strong network of colleagues and engage with one another and their communities, as they prepare for the next step.
When students graduate and go out into the world, their experiences at APU anchor them to what matters most: “Alumni are the embodiment of our mission statement, as they live out their lives and advance the work of God in the world,” said Hawkins.