CDC: a valuable, under-used resource

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Niki Gaines/Guilfordian

Have you ever visited the Career Development Center? For many Guilford students, the answer is a swift “no.”

Students often fall victim to resisting or waiting too long to get the help they need, making them unprepared for life after Guilford College. They often seem hesitant to visit the CDC, due to feelings of personal discouragement or fear of the future.

“Seniors are more likely to visit the CDC, because their life after Guilford is quickly approaching,” said Susan Tunstall, CDC student employment coordinator, via an email interview.

If students reach out of their comfort zone or reserve a little time from their social life to go visit the CDC, it could drastically change the outcome of their futures. 

The affable staff of the CDC is there to aid the student process and take students through the proper steps to find the best career-fit post-grad. Career services are available to both students and alumni, but it is the job of both to take the initiative to visit. 

According to statistics drawn by the CDC, between the dates of August 2011 and July 2014, almost a third of the students who visited the CDC were seniors. Each of the other years had drastically lower numbers of visitors.

May mentioned the idea of the four-year plan. In other words, when students plan out each year of college with respect to their future careers, they are more likely to feel prepared out of college. 

“First year is a time for inquiry and awareness, second year offers assessment and exploration, third year includes practical experience and fourth year focuses on future decisions and the job search,” said May.  “If a student goes through this process s/he is well-prepared for a career after Guilford.”

In a random survey of 10 first-years outside of Milner asking whether or not they had visited the CDC, eight replied that they had not. Four of the 10 didn’t even know what the CDC was, despite the fact that the CDC is widely advertised on campus, through the Buzz, tabling events in Founders, FYE courses and Facebook. It even has its own campus events, including Career Action Week and the annual Career Fair. 

So, why are younger students not visiting the CDC?

“Walking in there wasn’t as bad at all, basically I just went in, told them what I needed and they were happy to help,” said biology major Jesse Gellerson ’09. “They gave me a few personality tests to give me a direction of what I might enjoy doing. After the tests, they sat me down and taught me the process of networking and how to reach out to people about what I wanted to do.”

Gellerson first visited during his fourth year and realized how devoting time with the staff at the CDC could change his future.

He is now going into the Air Force to serve and earn his master’s in physician assistance. 

“You don’t know what you want to do (after college) unless you try it,” said Amanda Fontenot, CDC assistant director.  She feels that the CDC is the beginning of gaining experience that will prepare you better for life after Guilford. 

“Come in and chat with us,” Fontenot said. “We can do assessments, talk about your interests, abilities and values as well as ways to get involved within the campus and wider Greensboro community. That may be internships, fellowships or whatever you may need to figure out what is the best fit for you.”

Fontenot suggests that students go out and experience the workforce first hand in order to gain a better grasp on what to do as a career. 

Luckily for students, the CDC is there every step of the way to gain that experience.

It is proven that students who visit their college career center have a median salary that is $5,700 higher than those who have not.

 All in all, it is much simpler than you think. Contact the CDC today to start thinking about the future, no matter what year you are. Once you take the first action, the remaining steps will seem clearer.