College seniors get life lesson

May 14, 2008 7:05:57 PM PDT
Most colleges make sure their students have a solid grounding in English, math and science. But now one Bay Area university is also trying to assure its graduates know how to pick the right wine or mutual fund. Santa Clara University is offering a course in life after the diploma.

Bye bye books -- hello barbeque.

Santa Clara University seniors are learning how to prepare healthy meals after graduation. The class is part of a weekly series offered by the alumni association.

"Part of leaving college is transition into that "real world." And there's things that you need to know that you don't learn in the classroom," said Erin Hussey from the Santa Clara Alumni Association.

Things like balancing a checkbook, traveling on a budget and choosing the perfect wine.

"When you go out, perhaps like a business dinner, you look really professional if you know which bottle of wine to order, what pairs with what food," said Hussey.

Don't worry. The students are seniors, so they're all over 21, and many are eager for advice that will take them beyond the classroom.

The session is about interviewing for a job.

"Do a lot of research beforehand. Know exactly why you are interviewing for this position," said Bite Communications Vice President Marisa Mayer.

"I think interviewing is a skill that a lot of seniors don't have because we haven't really had to do it before. We can all talk to people, but when it comes to sitting down to an interview, it's a lot different than a casual conversation," said senior Brian Litke.

The visiting instructor is from Bite Communications, where part of her job is interviewing people looking for work.

"Be engaging, smile, have eye contact, don't chew gum. Don't answer your cell phone, don't text someone," said Mayer.

The instructor also cautions students to be careful what they put on their Facebook and MySpace pages. Prospective employers will often take a look.

And she gives advice about what to wear.

"Even if the company, like mine, where people wear jeans and flip flops, you definitely don't want to wear jeans to an interview," said Mayer.

Students don't get credit for these classes. But they do get life experience, and sometimes a good meal too.

One other critical business topic covered by the life skills class -- an introduction to golf.


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