Forum was presented quite differently this past week, as it took place in sections around campus at 11a.m. on Tuesday, October 23. Students and faculty from the Humanities division gathered in the Mussleman Library Reading Room for a special panel discussion. “Welcome to this atypical forum,” said Jeff Gundy, professor of English, as he introduced the speakers. Three former Bluffton students were invited to talk about their careers and experience after graduation. The first speaker graduated as an English major, but was undecided until her junior year. She asked a rhetorical question, what can you do with an English major? Her answer? “You can do lots.” She had little feedback from newspapers, and first worked as a hotel desk clerk. Her second opportunity was work with people who have disabilities. She spent 11 years in this location, gained skills in middle management, and earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Management. She then worked for a software company, and now works for her church. She’s the Christian education coordinator, and part-time treasures. “Employers are looking for…versatile employees,” she said. She even suggested that working for our own Bluffton Connection might be appealing to employers.
The next speaker was a Spanish education major, but when that major was dropped, he focused on Spanish classes and TESOL. He had a passion for linguistics and phonetics, worked at Tu Pueblo, and learned a second language. “I learned the importance of networking,” he said as he talked about making international connections at Bluffton. After Bluffton, he earned a Master’s degree in TESOL, went to India for a wedding and interned as an accent tutor, taught in South Korea, and was given a job at Ohio Northern University. He also revealed to us that he has been given a teaching position in Costa Rica. “Use your connections, use your knowledge, and in the field,” he said, “grow.”
The final speaker was a Bluffton student when the events of September 11, 2001 took place. He said it was a “worldview shake-up,” and he wrestled with the idea of peace and non-violence. This wrestling gave him opportunities to engage with new ideas, and led him to desire joining the Mennonite church. He became an associate pastor in Archbold, Ohio. He earned a Master’s degree, is currently enrolled in a doctorate program, and will be teaching a religion class at Bluffton University this spring. His advice was that we should “explore this changing world view.”
After the panelists finished speaking, the floor was open to students. They questioned the speakers, who gave one last, overall suggestion: Do not turn down every opportunity. Do not accept every opportunity. But consider them all.