Brandi Howliet | Staff Writer
Courtesy of the HU Career Center
Speed dating is a common tool used by persons seeking romantic relationships. The Onyx 11 class of 2008 recent held its own version of a speed dating event, but instead of trying to find a love interest, the purpose of this gathering was to network. The interaction between alumni and current students is very important—not only to the benefit of students, but to the legacy of Hampton University.
It isn’t often that the campus is filled with hundreds of alumni, many of whom are willing to reach out to current students to answer their questions. During Homecoming week, the Onyx 11 class celebrated its 10-year anniversary by hosting a two-day speed mentoring program in the Student Center. The select group of alumni wanted to give advice to current students regarding possible career choices and share their insights as to how to best navigate university life.
Teddy Reeves, a curatorial specialist, graduated from Hampton with an English arts degree and is currently employed at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. When asked about the overall goal of this event, he said, “This event is a way to give knowledge back to students and help guide them into their possible career choices.”
In addition to Reeves, there were about 10 alumni in attendance per session. Student attendees included majors ranging from business, journalism, medicine and psychology—all popular majors at Hampton University. Hampton alumni recognize the struggles that college students deal with when figuring out their future because they once were in the same place themselves. Students often face many challenges when trying to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Oftentimes people graduate and go into a totally different field than the one they studied in school. The alumni acknowledged these issues and wanted to reach out to students to let them know how to deal with these obstacles after leaving Hampton University.
Stephanie Waters, a broadcast journalism major, works as a program manager and TV personality with From One Hand to Another and The Redelynn Group. Waters’ advice to young college students who are figuring out their paths in life is to get a degree and gain other skills along the way.
As a member of the media and entertainment industry, Waters said, “Starting off in media, the money is trash. Stay passionate. You have to know yourself, and with due time, you will get out what you put in.”
This advice is applicable to students majoring in the journalism and many other fields as well. Figuring out a career path may be easy for some and hard for others, but with the advice and guidance of alumni, the process does become a little bit easier.
The overall focus and purpose of the speed networking event was to give current students advice and mentorship through their Hampton experience. The alum of Onyx 11 took the time to give back to students in a progressive and effective way; their audience was receptive, grateful and looks forward to learning more from Hampton University alumni next year.