Monday, May 11, 2015

Blogs from the Other Side...of Education that is.

So, I’m back! Here I am, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America out and about in the real world, filled with new knowledge and new experiences to tell you about! For those of you who do not remember me from my time at CIA, let me take a few moments to introduce myself.

My name is Kristin McGinn, a somewhat recent alumna of The Culinary Institute of America. I spent almost four years at The Culinary earning both my associate and my bachelor’s degrees. My associate degree, my first two years at the CIA, was in Baking and PastryArts. The second half of my career at The Culinary was spent as one of the first eight students earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Science. While at school, I was highly involved in many activities including Women’s Volleyball, Dean’s Council, Student Ambassadors, Graduation Committee and, of course, Student Blogging amongst others. Although I loved every moment, the time still came to leave CIA and I graduated May 1st 2014.  From there I moved on to complete an internship at a large food company, but I will get into more of those details later. First, more about why I am here…again.

Throughout the four years I was at CIA, I remember hearing many students say they could not wait to be done. They could not wait to be finished with classes, homework assignments, reports, and everything that came with being in college. Their eyes were on the prize and nothing else; they looked forward only toward getting a job.

But as the time came closer to actually leave, I heard less of these comments coming from my colleagues. With the end of school in sight, it became apparent that making the jump from school to job was not as automatic as students hoped it would be. I mean think about it, our whole lives up through college are planned out. When grade school is over, you go to high school; when high school is done, it’s off to college. When college is done, well, it’s off to the real world and we're on our own. Our first job after college is the first thing in our lives that is not pre-planned for us, it is only natural that it causes people to be flustered. Where will I end up? What will it be like? What if I don’t like the people I work with? Looking forward into the great unknown it seems like there are a million things to worry about! The last few months of school were overshadowed with an eerie silence as everyone focused all their energy into finding that perfect job.
I was sitting in Apple Pie Bakery Café one afternoon, trying to put my own future together, when I realized something. Every class that goes through the CIA has to eventually face the process of job hunting and preparing to leave the CIA. Based on CIA’s great track record, each class has been more than successful at doing so. Yet, with each graduation, students take the tools and tricks they may have used to find a job, leaving the next class to again fend for themselves in the job market like the class before them. If we could find some way to learn from the class before us, then maybe some of the pressures of the real world could be lifted off our shoulders. Going into the future with some tricks and some reassurance could surely make the transition from school to reality smoother.

But how, I thought, could we pull this off and how could I help? Cue my blogging experience. While going through the bachelor’s program at the CIA, I was a student blogger. I found it to be a fun and rewarding way to help give potential students a glimpse into the life of a CIA student. As my time was almost up as a student at The Culinary, I realized I did not want to stop there. I wanted to be able to reassure the students following after me (and of course their parents) that their lives after CIA would be successful. After a short meeting with the right people and a little maneuvering, we made the existence for this alumni blog possible.

My new mission with this blog is to shed light on life after CIA with focus on, of course, that first job after school is over; how to
find it, how to get it, and what it may be like. I plan to fully discuss all of the great career resources that CIA provides its students with and how I have learned to use these to my advantage. I will also talk about some hints and tricks that I have found to be useful out in the real world. Most importantly, in my opinion, I hope to show that our industry and our art demands what is commonly called “lifetime learning”. Regardless of where you are in your career, there are always opportunities to gain knowledge on our craft. I hope to share some of my learning experiences with you here and assure you that they can be fun. After all, being out in the real world does not mean that life becomes completely boring!

It is good to be back and I am really looking forward to sharing some real world experience with you all! Until next time! 

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