December Graduates Reflect on College Experiences, Opportunities

By Danny Lorenz, David Radowski, Ryan Koehler, Samuel Steffen

For many students facing another harsh Midwest winter, the first signs of snow trigger thoughts of another summer gone. However, University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire December graduates have other things on their minds. As December graduates reflect on their experiences and opportunities at the University some common experiences that benefited the students were internships, extra-curricular activities, and life lessons.

Each year students face the challenge of beginning the job search. Many students obtain internship opportunities by attending UW-Eau Claire’s annual Internship Mania. Patrick St. Ores, a graduating marketing major, credited the event with providing him the opportunity to initiate contact with numerous organizations.

“Thanks to Internship Mania, I not only acquired an internship with Fabco Caterpillar, but it translated into a permanent position after graduation,” he said.

St. Ores is no exception. Over 1,500 students attended Internship Mania last year and with over 90 organizations, businesses, and agencies expected annually, the networking possibilities are endless.

Karen Sykora, business administration major, said, “I can’t believe how many contacts I made and how many opportunities came from Internship Mania.”

UW-Eau Claire’s Internship Mania also offers workshops on the professional interview process. Students are provided with resume building tips and interviewing techniques covering business attire, body language, handshakes, and a variety of other skills.
Jacob Dettmer, marketing major, said, “After attending the preparation events, I felt more informed and confident going into the interview process.”

While many students choose to simply attend class and graduate college with a degree, other UW-Eau Claire students choose to participate in extra-curricular activities including athletics, student organizations, and intramural sports.

Sykora, member of UW-Eau Claire Student Senate said, “Through Student Senate, I gained many friendships and important networking opportunities.”

Students can take advantage of many NCAA Division III sports teams offered. Jared Supalla a business administration major and former Blugold basketball player said, “I gained a lot of great relationships and learned a great deal about myself through playing basketball for the Blugolds.”

The university also offers a variety of intramural sports for students who cannot devote the time a sport demands. This provides an opportunity for students to socialize and have fun. Sykora said, “I played intramural volleyball for a semester. Even though we lost a lot, it was a great time for me and my friends.”

As many extra curricular activities create lasting memories, the experiences a student gains in the classroom are important. However, many graduates will say that their most memorable experiences came from outside the lecture halls. Dettmer said, “I came to Eau Claire for an education, but I left with some of the best friends and experiences of my life.”

From cooking meals to scheduling courses, students juggle the obligations and stresses that often coincide with college life. “Freshman year made me realize that I couldn’t just sit back and enjoy the ride anymore. Now I was in the driver seat and had to take responsibility for the education I was paying for,” said St. Ores.

The new experiences in college are not always stressful. Free time outside of the classroom provides students the chance to form lifelong relationships and enjoy themselves.

“Most of the time it didn’t matter what we were doing; it was the experience of spending time with people I’ll never forget,” said Supalla.

Many December graduates realize graduation is approaching quickly. Although their college experience is coming to an end, many graduates plan on making a few more memories.Dettmer said, “What better way is there to leave Eau Claire then getting your diploma and celebrating with family and friends?”

Danny LorenzDavid RadowskiRyan KoehlerSamuel SteffenDanny Lorenz, far left, is a senior marketing major from Madison, WI. David Radowski, left, is a senior marketing major from Milwaukee, WI. Ryan Koehler, right, is a senior marketing major from Roseville, MN. Samuel Steffen, far right, is a senior management major from Rochester, MN. They wrote this article for their BCOM Advanced Business Writing Class.

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