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Trumbull Teens Told To Relax But Prepare When It Comes To College, Careers

Daejah Woolery, Class of 2018, makes a point at the 2016 College & Career Readiness for Success Forum. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Don Gibson, dean, Fairfield University's Dolan School of Business Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
2016 College & Career Readiness for Success Forum Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

TRUMBULL, Conn. — Ever wonder how long employers spend with the resume of a potential employee?

“One Mississippi … two Mississippi … three Mississippi … Next!” Thomas Tesoro, vice president of human resources at Standard Motor Products, told the hundreds gathered Wednesday for the 2016 College & Career Readiness for Success Forum at Trumbull High School.

Tesoro was one of several speakers who told students and parents considering the future to work diligently toward their goals, all while trying not to worry too much.

Don Gibson, dean of Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business, said students shouldn’t stress out if they’re unsure what they want to do with their lives.

“I had no idea in high school where I would end up,” he said. “I thought I would be a game show host and, so far, that hasn’t worked out.”

That said, Gibson noted that what employers claim they want hasn’t changed much over the years. The top four things they’re looking for are: oral and written communication skills, demonstrated ability to work with a team, ethical judgment and decision-making and critical thinking and analytical skills.

“Start now — even those of you in middle school — working on your relationship skills,” Gibson said.

Tesoro said a student’s GPA is far more important than where he or she attained it.

“I’d rather have a 3.0 from UConn than a 2.0 from Harvard,” he said.

The evening featured a panel discussion with Trumbull High School students and alumni.

Fred Tamarkin, Class of 2015, said he found his passion while talking to a college professor at an agricultural public speaking event in Louisville, Ky, in high school. As a result of that one conversation, he is now majoring in applied economics and management with a concentration in the life sciences at Cornell University.

“A couple of hours before that event, I didn’t even know that existed,” he said.

Phil Reardon’s father owns Elite Electrical Contractors. The 2014 graduate realized that, unlike his college-bound friends, he had a prime opportunity in the trade.

“College wasn’t for me,” Reardon said, noting that he loves his work as apprentice at the company. “I’m meeting new people and working with my hands everyday. How much you put in is what you get back.”

Junior Anush Sureshbabu urged students to step outside their comfort zones and try new things. While he hopes to go to medical school, he has found a real passion in an unlikely place — Model Congress.

“We construct bills like the real Congress — except we get things done,” he said.

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