If these walls could talk: Alumni Panel offers advice, wisdom

On Tuesday, Nov. 26 the counseling department hosted a Blue Devil Alumni Panel during third hour.

The panel included six recent graduates, ranging from the South class of 2010 to 2018. Each panelist introduced themselves and what they did, and then the students were free to ask them any questions they had about life after high school.

Counselor Beth Walsh-Sahutske, who organized the event, said she decided to have it before Thanksgiving break because of the South alumni who would be in town.

“It just seemed like a natural fit with Thanksgiving,” Walsh-Sahutske said. “It was harder than I thought to find alumni because a lot of college students are still in school. But (these alumni) were a great collection.”

Erica McGraw ’20 said she went because although she plans to attend college she is undecided as to her major. She found the panelists’ stories of finding their paths to be reassuring as they all stressed the importance of having different experiences.

“I thought it was interesting,” McGraw said. “I think it was helpful because they gave advice for college and how it’s a lot different from high school.”

The panel emphasized the diversity of options available to students after high school. Two of the panelists had military experience and another panelist went to a trade school.

“Don’t be afraid to grab something and run with it and see how far you can take it,” Panelist Donovan Dunham ’16, who went to trade school for welding after graduation and now works on Ford prototype builds, said.

Panelist Elizabeth Flom ’15 went to Ross Business School at the University of Michigan after graduating from South and now works as a consultant in Chicago. She said she couldn’t have gotten to where she is today without her failures.

“Every single time that I didn’t get something I wanted, I learned from it,” Flom said. “Sometimes it wasn’t something I wanted. But I love my job today. And I got there on the back of all my different failures.”

Counselor Beth Walsh-Sahutske, who organized the event, said she was thrilled by how the panel went and plans on doing another one next year.

“Even though these folks are primarily in their 20s, they’ve really got so much to share,” Walsh-Sahutske said. “So I felt like it was great to see their wisdom and life stories shared out with everybody.”