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Instructor encourages organization, research

Submitted by Grace Townsend on February 17, 2012 – 1:26 pmNo Comment

Trakenya Dobbins, a personal awareness instructor at UALR, gave a distinctive discussion on Feb. 6 about the steps students or graduates should take in order to have an organized and successful career path.

A person goes to school and graduates with a degree, but what’s next? There are many problems amongst new graduates going out into the real world and they don’t know exactly what to do.

“[Students] don’t understand that being in a career is a process and there are steps to take in order to reach a dream they might have,” Dobbins said. “So it is important to have that wisdom and have that mentor to know the steps to get there.”

Not only did students enjoy the lecture, but so did a few UALR employees.  Chassidy Cooper was one of the employees that learned something from the lecture that day. “The one thing I learned from this lecture was to make smart goals, which are specific goals that are measurable, obtainable, realistic and timely,” Cooper said.

Cooper also gave a word of advice to students going out into the real world. “Make sure you always have a plan and try to do your research on jobs, and just never give up. Always continue to take every opportunity, every meeting, every networking experience to continue to go for your goals,” Copper said.

Jesse Mason, director of UALR’s Cooperative Education Program, said that having a paid internship before graduation can be very beneficial in landing a salary-paid job after graduation. “The employer doesn’t place much value on the experience or internship that wasn’t paid to one that was paid. Students nowadays have to have all the advantages they can get because of the economy and because how competitive the job market is today,” Mason said.

The Cooperative Education Program allows qualified students to gain practical experience and to get paid for that experience.

Many tips to get a head start on a career path were also given. Websites such as and were referenced to help students decide what states would be practical to live in and how the cost of living compares across the nation, as well as the averages of different salaries for particular careers. Another website,, was also mentioned to help students learn about how often someone gets paid and how different salaries are determined.

“You have to be educated about your career decision; it is … important to understand all the details like the salary, expectations, and what you can bring to the table. When you have all of those things paired before you sign that contract, you will have better expectations and better outcomes that come in that first career position,” Dobbins said.

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