February 26, 2020

Student Perspective: United Way’s Career Explorations Fair was a success!

Editor’s Note: Treasure Thomas, an 11th grade student at Detroit’s Communication and Media Arts (CMA) High School, wrote this blog about United Way’s 2019 Find Your Future Career Explorations Fair. Detroit School of Arts students Arianna Gibson (senior), Clara Jimimez (senior), McPinta Desriveau (senior) and Martel Hamilton (sophomore) created the video. Through United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s work to ensure that students are ready to learn and ready for life, we work with schools like CMA to provide enrichment and career exploration opportunities for students.

On Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, I had the pleasure of attending the Find Your Future Career Explorations fair hosted by United Way for Southeastern Michigan. It was a college and career fair targeted to first-year high school students. This fair was meant to help students think about their future after high school. Everyone’s future is different, whether that be attending college, completing a trade, completing an internship, or finding a career that might spark their interest.

We started the day off at Ford Field. I was anxious as I watched excitement drip off the faces of students. I could tell that students were anxious to see what was waiting for them! United Way staff and the Mumford High School band greeted us with an amazing performance filled with cheers, smiles and encouraging words. This was just an amazing way to start my Friday morning!

I had the opportunity to talk to Jeff, an education vendor from Wayne State University. Jeff had a very positive experience at the fair. He handed out swag gear such as stress balls, informational literature and business cards.

“I love coming to this event because there are so many enthusiastic students at this fair,” Jeff said. “It’s really exciting connecting with students.”

Students with Wayne State University at United Way Career Explorations Fair

Students talked with colleges like Wayne State University at United Way’s Find Your Future Career Explorations Fair in November 2019.

Students share their experiences

After talking to the vendors, it was time to interview the students. This was something I was really looking forward to, because during my freshman year I had a blast interacting with so many students!

“How was your experience?” I asked Detroit School of Arts students Bailey and David.

“My experience was great, because just a few minutes ago, I just landed myself a summer job,” Bailey said.

“I had a pretty good time and was able to learn about brotherhood and that is where I learned the importance of sticking up for one another,” David said. “I also learned how to persevere through hard times.”

Students had a chance to step out of their comfort zone and interact with universities.

“I connected with Wayne State University and I realized that this is the college I want to go to,” said Renaissance student Kelly Richardson. “Connecting with the Wayne State vendor pushed me out of my comfort zone, and it prepared me for what I want to do.

“The Wayne State vendor gave me tips on how to land scholarships,” she added.

Students felt prepared for their future after they talked to educational vendors. They received advice to get through college.

“This fair was fine and a lot of people gave me advice on college and scholarships,” said Communication Media Arts student Ajanee.

Students with volunteers at United Way's Find Your Future Career Explorations Fair in November 2019.

Volunteers helped students think about their future goals at United Way’s Find Your Future Career Explorations Fair in November 2019.

Prepared for the future

United Way created this event to help prepare students for the future. When I asked students about their future goals, many of the students agreed that this fair was a success. They also said it pushed them out of their comfort zone.

“This fair was very entertaining, informational and persuasive,” Kelly said. “They taught us a lot and I enjoyed it. This fair pushed me and made me more prepared for what I want to do after high school.

“This fair was worth it if you are really serious about what you want to do,” she added.

Overall, the Find Your Future Career Exploration fair was a success. Students left the fair with a positive sense of their future goals, whether that be attending college, completing a trade, completing an internship, or finding a career that might spark their interest. I found it helpful to talk to different colleges and companies and I grew a lot from the short time I was at the fair. In the end, it benefited me with the connections I made. I am truly grateful for this experience and I will not forget this day.

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