Achieving Post Graduate Success: An Interview with Leah Pestone

The "real world" doesn’t need to be this scary thing we anxiously await.

Making the most of your collegiate opportunities is the best way to ensure post graduate success. While that might sound like an obvious statement, many underestimate the power of being as involved as you can while in school.

We are aware of the seemingly impending doom referred to as “the real world” after college. We hear in the news about the many hardships we face in the job market, only increasing our anxieties about what will happen after graduation. From finding a job to paying taxes, it all seems very stressful. The thing is: It definitely doesn’t need to be.

For their part, James Madison University offers a wide variety of resources for students approaching graduation. The Career and Academic Planning office, for example, helps students craft their resumes and feel more prepared for job interviews. They’re also able to connect students with different internship opportunities.

JMU invests in the success of their past alumni – providing them with networking opportunities and connecting them to job opportunities.

I had the opportunity to interview JMU graduate Leah Pestone (class of ‘07) to discuss how important it is to take advantage of the university’s resources and involvement opportunities.

Pestone graduated with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Human Resources. While Leah was at JMU, she was a sister in a sorority. Leah believes that her involvement in her sorority helped prepare her for the real world.

“Anything that really gets you meeting new people,” said Pestone, “maybe getting you in a situation where it’s not uncomfortable, but maybe bringing you in new surroundings and new challenges,” will help prepare you for the work force, where you may need to work with people who are very different from you.

Currently, Pestone is a contract administrator. Before this, she worked as a recruiter for a large digital firm for nine years. She found this job through the JMU Career Fair, and was hired right out of college.

When asked if she had any lasting advice for current JMU students, Pestone said, “Earn your money before you spend it.”

She explained how recent grads will often continuously spend their money, without thought to their debt.

Pestone stressed that spending beyond your means is too easy, since most of us have credit cards. Sometimes debt can pile up without us even realizing.

“Make sure you push yourself,” Pestone added, “don’t ever think you can’t do something.” She explained that hard work pays off in the business world, just like it does in college. It is important to have professional and life goals and be constantly working towards their achievement.

The “real world” doesn’t need to be this scary thing we anxiously await. If you make the use of opportunities that JMU has for you – from the job fair to extracurricular activities – you will have the foundation to excel in a professional environment.

From there, it’s up to you to work hard and practice savvy financial habits. In reality, life after graduation is nothing to fear. In fact, it’s something you’ve spent roughly your entire life preparing four.


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Posted 04.14.2017 - 03:00 pm EDT