By Barbara J. Campbell, Director, Alumni & Parent Relations, Falmouth Academy
Every year just before the December holiday break, alumni return to Falmouth Academy to share anecdotes from their college experiences and career paths. Every Alumni College & Career Networking Day, we consistently hear that Falmouth Academy has prepared alumni well for college and provides a tool kit of skills to succeed in their careers. Here are six pieces of advice that alumni shared this year.
Demonstrate those writing skills
Mikaela Lawson ’15, a sophomore at St. Anselm’s College, is one of many alumni to report that she has taught her friends how to write better papers.
She said, “All my friends hand me their papers before they turn them in. Falmouth Academy really taught me how to be diligent and my classmates know I will help them frame their thoughts more cohesively.”
Use communicating chops in every industry
Scott Brown PhD ’89, an aerospace engineer, principal scientist and head of the Modeling and Simulation Group at the Digital Imaging and Remote Sensing Lab at Rochester Institute of Technology, said, “Being a good communicator is one of the most important skills you can bring to an employer.”
He said, “In engineering, you will be part of a bigger piece. You have to be a good collaborator, understand the big picture and communicate well – something that Falmouth Academy teaches you how to do really well.”
Engineering is all about problem solving and troubleshooting, he said. “It’s a definite advantage for someone to be able to communicate well. Good writers are able to deconstruct and reconstruct – highly sought-after skills for engineering,” said Brown.
Take advantage of internships
Lauren Hoyerman ’13, a senior at Emerson College, has had quite a few internships with groups as diverse as the Woods Hole Business Association, Fenway Community Association, and On The Water, a local publication.
“At Falmouth Academy, you learn how to engage with people and how to present yourself. This is very important. You know how to ask questions and advocate for yourself.”
Internships give you the perfect opportunity to see what might interest you. “Internships are crucial to deciding your future career path because they allow you to experience a real working environment. Be confident in your abilities – that internship could become your future job.”
Develop time management skills
Varsity goalie for the Simmons College lacrosse team, Kenzie Rogers ’15 works three jobs in addition to attending classes. “I am most productive when I have multiple things on my schedule that I am trying to balance. Falmouth Academy prepared me well to manage my time.”
Alex Kania ’16 agrees. The College of Wooster freshman said, “I developed a system to know when I work best so that I could keep up with my homework and other obligations.”
Managing time is a top priority for students attending military academies. Thallyson Ribeiro ’16, a freshman at Wentworth Institute of Technology and ROTC member said, “You’ve got to be able to manage your time. I have activities every day in addition to my classes so I need to know how I will get it done.”
Military training is integrated into Christina Nunley’s schedule at the U.S. Air Force Academy. A 2013 alumna of Falmouth Academy, Nunley is a senior and soon to be commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. She said, “In addition to my classes, exercises take place in the evenings, weekends and summers, and I also have a job and play club basketball. So time management is really important.”
Have a Plan B
When it comes time to getting that first professional job – have a back-up plan. Tedd Black ’92, a former Marine and current nuclear security officer, attended Virginia Military Institute. In terms of picking classes and activities, he counseled the students to think, “Is the thing I study going to be marketable? Will I enjoy it? When your professional plan hits a pothole, you have to have a Plan B.”
Sam Amazeen ’07, lead instructor for the Submarine Officer Basic Course at NAVSUBSCOL in Groton, CT, and an alumnus of the U.S. Naval Academy, agreed. “In the Navy, job options are left up to chance because you can only pick from what’s available at the time. I got exactly what I thought I didn’t want, but it turned out to be perfect for me.”
Network, network, network
The best advice of the day? Unanimously, the participants said, “Use your alumni networks at college and Falmouth Academy, and don’t be afraid to reach out.” See all of the topics discussed at Falmouth Academy’s Alumni College & Career Networking Day and read the bios of each of the roundtable moderators.