Monty Cerf often volunteers as an educator, advisor, and mentor to college-age and graduate students looking to advance their chosen careers. In the following article, Monty Cerf discusses ways to stay active in the higher education community after graduation, and the many benefits that come with doing so.
While some leave college and want nothing more than to be as far away from the system as possible, others feel the urge to stay connected to their alma mater or local college. But many aren’t sure of how to do that. This prompts people like Monty Cerf to open the discussion.
Adjunct Teaching and Lecturing Becomes a Popular Way to Remain Connected to College
Monty Cerf has been an occasional lecturer and mentor for many years and explains the benefits of holding such positions after college.
Monty Cerf explains that lecturing in any capacity is one active role an individual can fairly easily take in higher education. Those who assume the position are directly in front of the community they wish to serve.
Professionals often underestimate the value they bring, speaking to students about their real life experiences in different industries and different roles. Often people don’t fully appreciate how welcome they would be bringing that perspective to the classroom.
Contributing Through Student Mentorship Programs
Not every post-college graduate is ready for this responsibility or the time commitment of teaching. Mentoring presents another opportunity for engagement and contribution.
Collegiate mentorship programs are numerous and welcome all comers who bring an open mind and a desire to contribute to the lives and perspectives of students, Monty Cerf has assumed the mentorship role many times for students at different universities, both formally and informally.
Monty Cerf explains that the sources of value to students are diverse. Sometimes he is in a position to offer very specific advice about a job search, a course selection, an interviewing technique, or a way to frame one’s career priorities. Other times the value is much more subtle, just being a good listener and bringing a perspective more broadly to help orient students to their future cultural and intellectual challenges in the professional world.
Thus, many of us can stay connected with students’ learning and growth of the next generation in a way that can also, sometimes, lead to lasting friendships.
Financially Supporting Scholarships for Talented Students
While giving time and sharing one’s life professional experiences in the classroom or outside of the classroom is indisputably valued, it is an inescapable truth that there is a near limitless need for financial support through scholarships. So many students (and parents) need to hold jobs and second jobs to limit student debt and fund a quality education. Monty Cerf repeatedly encounters students holding one or more jobs to make ends meet and to pay tuition. Scholarships help ease the burden allowing students to focus on their first job, which is to get an education. Not everyone is in a position to help. That is respected. But for those that can, your contributions will be appreciated enormously.
Such scholarships tend to be competitive which also helps motivate students to perform and excel hoping for scholarship support. If you are able to contribute scholarship funds you can, at your discretion, target them to students with particular characteristics: specific academic pursuits aligned with your interests, specific achievement targets, or specific community service documented commitments.
Serving on a College Advisory Board Is Often a Forgotten Yet Highly Rewarding Endeavor
Finally, joining a college advisory board can be rewarding for those who aim to give back to their alma maters or to colleges or universities near where they live.
Monty Cerf regularly acknowledges that serving on the university’s board is a rewarding and impactful experience. Like lecturing, one often discovers that the administrative leadership teams of schools, heartily welcome continuing input from practitioners with different perspectives coming from outside of the cloistered academic world.
In sum, there are many points of engagement that are great ways to contribute and can be very rewarding for you personally. Never underestimate the value that your life’s experience can bring to these communities.