On Monday night, roughly 70 seniors flocked to Kresge Auditorium to hear President Barry Mills give advice for their post-collegiate lives. Mills’ new four-installment series, called “Get Ready for Life After Bowdoin: A Crash Course on Practical Skills,” was created with the help of Robin Transgrud ’06.
In his column on the Bowdoin Daily Sun, Mills wrote that Transgrud assisted in the development of these workshops as she studied for the bar exam.
“You commonly hear young people say ‘I wish I knew this’ or ‘I wish I’d had more experience in understanding how to set my own budget or get my own apartment,’” said Mills in an interview with the Orient. “So, the idea is to supplement or add on to what we do here in an excellent way and get seniors ready for the next level.”
In his first presentation, Mills covered a range of topics revolving around workplace interactions.
Over the course of an hour and a half, Mills discussed the basics of office life, including everything from how to dress for a job to when to leave a job. Mills also addressed bigger ideas, stressing the importance of respect, diligent work and an awareness of your own reputation.
Seniors in attendance Monday had generally positive responses.
“President Mills had a lot of really practical advice,” said Mark Hansen ’14. “He was able to boil down anecdotes, or things he’d experienced, into a bullet point: try doing this, don’t do this. When I left I said, OK, I know at least six things I can do to fit in better in the workplace, to get a job, or to keep a job.”
The next two sessions will introduce students to everyday knowledge about filing taxes, investing and saving.
“In the second and third sessions, they will get some really practical advice that I think could be useful to them almost immediately,” said Mills.
These next sessions will also include speakers other than Mills. Representatives from the Fullbridge program, which has run real-world skills seminars on campus both this year and last, will provide finance and investment expertise during the two presentations.
In the final session, various Bowdoin alumni will join Mills to describe their post-graduation experiences in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Boston and New York.
“I’ve heard really great stories about that, and some kind of saddening stories, so I’m really excited to get advice about what that’s going to be like,” said Neli Vazquez ’14 on the prospect of relocation.
Though roughly 70 seniors turned out for Monday’s session, some of the other sessions have even higher pre-registration numbers than the first.
While not guaranteeing his own participation next year, Mills said he hoped that this would become an annual event.
“My goal is actually to establish the program,” said Mills. “Not to seem too egotistical, but my view was that if I started this off, some people would show up. I would hope that we’ll be able to figure out ways in the future to have this be sustainable, where it doesn’t rely on the president of the College. But, as a way to get people interested, I thought I’d lend some of my weight behind it.”
Regardless of the long-term plan, this year’s goal is clear.
“My hope is that it will be both for the students as they become grads immediately, but that it will also have some lasting impact down the road on the way that people think about their lives,” said Mills.