Alumni hosts 5 Under 25 event

GVL/Bo Anderson

A panel of recent GVSU graduates spoke at the 5 Under 25 event on Thursday night.

GVL/Bo Anderson A panel of recent GVSU graduates spoke at the 5 Under 25 event on Thursday night.

Megan Braxmaier

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For many Grand Valley State University students, graduation is right around the corner. Life after graduation can be exciting, but it can also seem daunting and overwhelming at times. To help students ease their minds before exams roll around, the Future Alumni Association hosted their annual 5 Under 25 event.

Students gathered at the Alumni House, where drinks and snacks were provided, and were given the opportunity to speak with a panel of five recent Grand Valley Alumni about life after college. The Alumni answered questions about choosing and changing majors, finding a job or internship, challenges after college, paying off student loans, interviews and relationships.

“Keep in mind to balance your career, family, and relationships,” alumna Xuan Dinh advised students.

Along with Dinh, other representing alumni included Rachel Wion, Thomas Pikes, Kristi Hagyard, and Mike Stoll. The panel was mediated by Patrick Johnson, who is also a recent Grand Valley alumnus and was also available for questioning.

Students also asked about how to deal with being a young professional in the work place. Wion suggested that students be open minded and understanding with their co-workers. Hagyard said it’s all about how you carry yourself.

“Be confident in yourself and be willing to defend yourself,” Hagyard said. “You want to be taken seriously.”

Hagyard also encouraged students to become more involved in extra curricular activities and student organizations as well as to study abroad, a statement to which Wion agreed and Pike said was his biggest regret in not doing during his time at GVSU.

“Join groups, take chances, jump in the deep end,” Wion said. “You’ll never get the chance again. Meet as many people as you can.”

The FAA puts on events throughout the school year for students to help get involved and create connections with alumni of all ages.

Erin Rutgers, an event planner and advisor for the FAA says that it is important to give students access to these events because they educate students about life after college and gives students access to different resources about the FAA and how to stay involved in the network.

“All of these students came through Grand Valley at one point and they all have the same resources available,” Rutgers said. “It is important to make those connections.

Chris Richter, a secretary for the FAA, says that this event in particular of all of the events they put on is the most relatable for students.

“You can hear alumni all over say ‘look how successful I am’ and be okay,” Richter said. “But this event is recent alumni. Instead, they are people who are still going through the ‘panic phases’ and are currently dealing with the stuff that students worry about. A lot of students think they’re on track, so this event helps bring them into reality.

Future events that students can look forward to are GVSU week where students can become educated in where exactly their tuition money is invested, the upcoming hot chocolate social in January and the Student to Professional Conference.

The Alumni House is not only used for events on campus such as this one but for a number of other uses. The house is available to the GVSU community for weddings and also contains four hotel rooms upstairs. It also houses the Alumni Relations offices. Students can visit gvsu.edu/faa or gvsu.edu/lakerforalifetime for more information.
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