“Loans right now are pretty much the same as a mortgage,” Laura Payne, a Stony Brook University graduate said. Payne graduated in May 2011 with a bachelor’s in economics. Since graduation, Payne has not been able to secure a full-time job.
“I’m interning to make myself a more attractive candidate,” Payne said. “Sallie Mae will have to just wait until I get a real job.” Payne took on a post-grad internship to add more experience to her resume. However, until she finds a job, she has been unable to make her loan payments.
Several students like Payne attended the Haitian Roundtable Dialogue Series’ event The Art of Reinventing Your Career on May 14 at Touro College to get tips from professionals thriving in their industry. Moderated by Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, contributor for CNN and MSNBC, the panelists discussed how to survive in today’s highly competitive professional environment.
Panelists included: Fabrice Armand, president of Fabrice J. Armand Group; Midwin Charles, attorney and founder of Midwin Charles & Associates LLC; Faride Precil, manager of Education Programs for National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC); Mona Scott-Young, founder and CEO of Monami Entertainment; and Brian Simon, director of Government Affairs for The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“Sometimes when you’re going through your own professional storm, having faith can be difficult,” Simon said, “You think to yourself ‘will my break happen’?”
“One of the best ways to get through your rough patch is consistency,” Charles said. “Stay at it…and do it well; people will take notice.”
Student debt reached $1 trillion on May 1, now surpassing total credit card debt. The crutch of the problem is unemployment among college graduates who took loans out to finance their education.
“I’ve interned and interned and interned,” a broadcast journalism graduate in the audience said. “I’ve used all the tools . I’ve done all the interning I can do.”
“Joining a professional organization is essential,” Charles said to her. “There’s NAMIC, National Association of Black Journalists and plenty more. You need to be at their conventions and seminars.”
“Network, have patience and perfect your skills,” Gardere said. “And like the panelists said, never ever, ever give up on your dream.”
- Improve your competitive advantage by learning new skills.
- Place yourself in a niche where your strengths stand out.
- Identify areas of opportunity and fix those gaps.
- Learn by doing, prioritize your learning, and think two steps ahead.
- Create your own opportunities and be resilient.
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