Real World 2012(Note: This article is by Sonya Falcone ’12, who attended Real World with more than 500 of her fellow seniors. The event is hosted by the Office of Alumni Affairs and the Center for Career Services. )

On Friday morning my classmates and I gathered in the Hall of Presidents to consider for the first time, as a class, our lives after we leave Colgate. In his opening speech, President Jeffrey Herbst reminded us about the urgency of this consideration: “Take note of the date today, because in exactly four months you will be graduating.”

Even though I am still processing the concept that my days at Colgate are numbered, the Real World events of this past weekend were an encouraging reminder that new adventures await after graduation.

More than 500 other seniors attended Real World and were able to meet and network with 120 alumni volunteers. Keynote speaker Brendan Tuohey ’96 welcomed us all with an inspiring keynote address.

Tuohey, co-founder of the global nonprofit PeacePlayers International, used examples from his own career to explain the importance and value of the Colgate network. His stories helped spark conversation between students and alumni with the hope of creating relationships.

real world 2012
During the course of the weekend, a range of sessions gave us the opportunity to ask alumni about their fields, and two networking receptions allowed us to connect with them on a more direct level. Panels were applicable to a wide range of interests from fashion to medicine.

Lily Butler ’12 attended the marketing and advertising panel, moderated by Sandra Hall ’76. Butler explained that the panel gave an extremely thorough and helpful breakdown of the field.

“It helped me understand what marketing really is and gave me a good idea of what positions are available,” Butler said.

The last panel I attended was about nonprofit organizations, moderated by Sally Sachar ’81. Sachar’s concluding advice encouraged us to “relax.” She reminded us that our first jobs will not be our last and that we should embrace mistakes as opportunities to learn. Her words were comforting.

Even though leaving Colgate is a daunting prospect, this weekend reminded us that we will have an excellent education and a strong alumni network to rely on in the future. With this in mind, we will be able to embrace our rapidly approaching graduation date with just a little more confidence.