Focusing on life beyond the classroom

It started in preschool with a box of crayons and a coloring book. It was all about coloring in between the lines and picking the right color scheme to accent a funky duck and his beak.

We could choose which colors we wanted and which direction to stroke the crayon along the paper, as long as we attempted to make it the best we could.

As we grew older and continued into other grades, teachers began to trust us more. For example, they gave us pens to work with instead of pencils. That was a huge step up for us.

Who wasn’t stoked about using a pen on a homework assignment for the first time? Pens were foreign objects to us for a long time, but we got used to them.

As we continue on and eye the foreseeable future, the real world seems to be a foreign object, as well. Nevertheless, what do we need to do to prepare ourselves for the real world as it rapidly approaches?

Michael Soucy, a soon-to-be graduate, has an idea.

Soucy has been working toward earning a degree in Exercise Science.  His sights are set on graduate school, an achievement that will help him reach his ultimate goal of putting his emphasis on health professions to use.

“In exercise science, you pretty much have to go to graduate school,” Soucy said. “An undergraduate degree in exercise science doesn’t do much without some sort of post-graduate work. I’ve set myself up through research projects being a department assistant and will hopefully go on to get my Ph.D. in Biomechanics.”

Saucy said that in order for him to move onto graduate school, he must take the GRE.

The GRE is a test required by many graduate schools in order to be accepted to their graduate program within universities around the country.

According to Education Testing Services, the GRE is a “general test that features question types that closely reflect the kind of thinking you’ll do in graduate or business school.”

The test consists of three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing. ETS elaborates on all prongs of the test.

Verbal reasoning measures one’s ability to “analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it.” Essentially, it is a more challenging version of the verbal section on the SAT.

Quantitative reasoning measures problem solving abilities that involve all types of math starting at the level of basic algebra and continuing on.

Lastly, the analytical writing test measures one’s writing skills in the form of articulate, complex questions and how effectively one forms his or her answers.

The GRE has a specific score range. For the verbal and quantitative sections, the scores range from 130-170 while the analytical writing score ranges from 0-6. The higher the number, the better the score one has received.

Soucy has taken this test once, hoping his scores will be solid enough to place him into one of his dream schools.

“I am applying to five schools: University of Delaware, Wake Forest, UC San Diego, Penn State and Michigan,” Soucy said. “Once I get my grad degree I’ll do some research within biomechanics and sport research through a university or in a lab somewhere.”

Dakota Fog, a 2013 CLU alumnus, has already found success in the real world.

“Thanks to CLU’s career postings website, I found a job in [the] mortgage industry as soon as I graduated and I am making a comfortable living in an otherwise stagnant economy,” Fog said.

“I worked my tail off for four years and it has certainly paid off,” Fog said. “I started as an underwriter and have already been promoted to business development. I have my eyes set on being a director of my division within five years.”

Fog conveyed some words of wisdom to those who were feeling down about graduation.

“I know the job market and economy seem daunting while you’re in school, but take my advice: put your head down and work hard now because the top companies will find you no matter how bad the market is,” Fog said.

We have learned through our academic careers that the simple things have shaped us into the determined workers we are today.

Many people have learned how they want to make this world a better place. We are closer to discovering our life’s purpose one class at a time.

While that part of the journey will surely end, it will be something that we will reflect upon throughout our lives. The transition, no matter how hard it may be, will eventually work.

The little life lessons have broken us down only to build us right back up. Life is about adjustments, just like moving from pencil to pen.

 

Nicho DellaValle
Staff Writer
Published December 11, 2013