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ODU Senior Featured in Wall Street Journal's 'Hire Education' Blog

It's a scary time for soon-to-be graduates of Old Dominion University and every other school in the United States. Students are getting ready to take the leap into an uncertain job market, armed with energy, hopes and dreams, but facing a challenging economy.

Six graduating seniors are sharing their experiences of the transition from school to the working world in The Wall Street Journal's "Hire Education" blog. And one of the six, 24-year-old Heath Studer, will soon graduate with a B.S. in communication from ODU.

"I have enjoyed my experience and I'm especially grateful for it. I hate to admit this, but I have probably put more effort into my job search now because I have the blog than I would have had I not been given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Studer said. "Because of the blog, I've gained a lot of confidence and am less hesitant to approach people with questions regarding the job search process and their own experiences looking for work out of college."

The first member of his family to attend college, Studer moved from central New York to Fort Jackson, S.C., for military training. He was attracted to the Hampton Roads area after finishing his training, and completed an associate degree at Thomas Nelson Community College, then transferred to ODU to earn a bachelor's degree.

Studer, who is engaged but with no wedding date set, has worked a number of jobs, most recently as a security guard at the Williamsburg Marriott, while attending ODU. He's ready to take on the full-time working world, but as he wrote in The Wall Street Journal, a little daunted by the process. "We are faced with having to transition into a job market that is turbulent at best. Scary? Heck, yeah. But that is what makes this an exciting time in our lives," he wrote.

Studer was chosen to be one of The Wall Street Journal's six graduating bloggers after making acquaintance with Jordan Goldman, CEO and founder of Unigo.com, a college peer-review Web site.

"We connected on Facebook and in January of this year, Jordan updated his Facebook status asking people to forward contact information to him about any college seniors that may be interested in a great opportunity," Studer said.

Two weeks later, Studer received an e-mail from the managing editor of WSJ's Classroom Edition, explaining the Hire Education blog project, and asking for a writing sample if students were interested in taking part.

"I was in shock for about two days, but I did manage to get a writing sample together and e-mailed it to him," Studer said. "Two weeks went by and the managing editor of the WSJ Classroom Edition e-mailed me back saying that I was selected to participate in the blog."

The Journal describes Hire Education as a blog for, about and by people getting ready for the transition from college to the working world. Tracking six seniors on their hunt for meaningful work, the Journal will seek advice from recruiting and career-services professionals to help weave the narrative of their lives.

Studer is thrilled to be able to take part. He's hoping it might give him a tiny advantage in a very competitive job market.

"It's hard. It takes a lot of flexibility, hard work and dedication. Unless you're one of the lucky few who know exactly what it is that they want to do with their lives, you're forced to begin thinking about finding a job in a job market which is dismal," Studer said.

But he's optimistic that things will go well for him if he sticks to it. Ultimately, Studer hopes to "be great at everything I do," whether that's starting a business, a nonprofit or a group to help young people like him find their way in the job market, and simply being a good dad someday.

For now, though, he's focusing on the job hunt. Studer may be more optimistic than many of his classmates, because he thinks employers are looking for young people with motivation and ideas, things he has plenty of.

"I think that if college graduates know the value they can add to an organization and can communicate this value as somehow helping an organization reach its short-term and long-term goals, then he or she is one step closer to leveraging a depressing job market. It's a lot of hard work but it's completely possible. Anything is possible."

You can read Studer's blog, and the blog entries of the five other students selected by the Wall Street Journal, at http://blogs.wsj.com/hire-education/2010/04/07/scary-heck-yeah/?KEYWORDS=heath+studer.

This article was posted on: April 9, 2010

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