Randolph-Macon’s annual Edge Career Boot Camp was held February 5-6. 129 sophomore, junior, and senior class students participated in the Boot Camp.
The busy weekend began in the Brock Commons on Friday at 9:00 am when students checked in and headed to the buses that would depart for The Westin Hotel in Richmond. Upon arrival at the hotel, breakfast was served and Boot Camp was in full swing.
The first event was about learning how to tell your story. Alumna Whitney Forstner kicked off Boot Camp with a message that was vital for all of the following events. She taught students how to successfully talk about themselves to potential employers. This was definitely useful information for the etiquette dinner later on that night with R-MC faculty and alumni.
During the dinner, students were assigned to a table with one alumnus and one professor or staff member. Shelley Burns was at the front of the room guiding students through the place setting. While eating, students learned which fork went with which course, and they networked with alumni. These networking skills are important because, as students learned, a job interview can happen at any time and at any place.
After dinner, students had one more activity before the first day of Boot Camp was officially over. Social media expert Nhat Pham came and spoke on the importance of social media. She explained how to build your social media pages to better your chances at a job interview and job offer. Students gathered with laptops in hand, and were ready to learn. Pham focused on the importance of LinkedIn and how to promote your skills on the website.
After this last event, day one was complete. Students were free to head to their rooms, or mingle with alums at the bar. However, Saturday morning was another early wake-up call with the first event starting at 8:30 am.
Saturday was the biggest day for Boot Camp participants because they each had to sit through a few more lessons, and then participate in three mock job interviews. To start off Saturday morning, Patti Carey gave a presentation on the art of communication. This session taught attendees about self-awareness, verbal and non-verbal communication, and being assertive in interviews. All of the sessions had a common theme of putting your best self out there for a great job interview.
The interviews were to be held later that afternoon, and students were definitely becoming prepared. When different students were asked if they were ready for their interviews, they all replied “yes!”
As a participant myself, the interviews were something that I was looking forward to. I wanted to see if I could interview correctly like the Boot Camp had been teaching me. I, along with most Boot Camp participants, felt this was my chance to shine and really test my story out.
I caught up with junior Kayla Watts who truly tested her story and succeeded during one of her interviews.
“At the Edge Boot Camp, I was able to meet and network with so many different people. I really felt that everything we learned was put to the test when we had to do the mock interviews with alumni, who volunteered their time to help us. I got paired with the program manager of Team Excel, a nonprofit organization that uses sports and team-building exercises to help students do better in school. After telling my story and talking about my love of sports, my involvement in clubs on campus and the knowledge gained from my Sociology major, she offered me an internship,” Watts shared. “This is a great experience that I would not have otherwise gotten. Boot Camp really helped me learn what is required to become successful.”
Therefore, not only were students prepared for future job interviews, but some students were lucky enough to receive internships as a result of attending Boot Camp. Boot Camp is held every year, so be on the lookout for announcements of how to sign-up so that you do not miss the chance to help prepare for your future success.
-Bianca Puccinelli ’18, Staff Writer