GC seniors flocked to Magnolia Ballroom to enjoy a picnic provided by GC’s Career Center at lunchtime on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
After lunching on burgers and chips catered by Sodexo, seniors filled out graduation applications, scheduled their senior check-in appointments with the Career Center, secured their official senior t-shirt and visited with prospective employers who sponsored the event. The sponsoring organizations included Geico, Norfolk Southern, Sherman-Williams, Waffle House, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds at Lake Oconee.
“It takes six to nine months to find the job you really want, even an internship,” said Career Center Director Mary Roberts. “We wanted to have a kick-off event to get them started. So we started doing this event six or seven years ago to get seniors starting their job and grad school search early.”
Roberts said the picnic averages 400 seniors in attendance each year, and the Career Center has seen its interaction with seniors increase as a result of the event.
The sponsoring employers, many of whom have hired GC graduates before, said they find GC students to be professional and interactive.
“The students are personable,” said Starr Person, a human resources business partner at Norfolk Southern. “They can shake hands and they can make direct eye contact, which is the very beginning of the conversation.”
Marissa Edwards, director of all things fun at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds at Lake Oconee, agreed.
“We look for students that have great personalities and are really excited about what their options are after college,” Edwards said. “This has been incredible turnout, and GC students always come very prepared. We can’t say enough about the quality of candidate that we get from GC.”
Senior biology major Sarah Beller said she came to the picnic to network with research labs or other companies within the biological sciences field but did not find any prospective employers in the field at the picnic. However, she said she enjoyed the picnic and appreciated the Career Center’s effort to kick start students’ job search.
“I found that GC is putting in a great effort to try to connect us with employers and set us up for success in the real world,” Beller said.