Don Asher Visits Students at the Robert E Cook Honors College to Help Them Explore their Future Opportunities

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Students of the Robert E. Cook Honors College on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania recently explored issues in the collegiate experience as it relates to their future aspirations during a workshop presented by a nationally recognized speaker on careers and higher education.

Author of Cool Colleges, Don Asher is a San Francisco and Gerlach, Nevada-based career consultant, business writer and nationally recognized speaker on careers and higher education. During the workshop presented at Robert E Cook Honors College, Asher encouraged students to fully embrace the many facets of the college experience and realize the unique opportunities here.

"You have a unique opportunity here at Cook Honors College," Asher said, "You can get achievement grants so any student can get paid for a nonpaid internship." "They have to see it from an objective point of view-- the class work, choosing a major and having an internship. Students are responsible for getting the internship. It's important to reach freshman with the news that they absolutely need an internship."

To make the most of the college experience participants Leah Keller, a freshman biology major from Franklin, Ohio and Andrew Wagner, a freshman physics major from Arlington, Virginia concluded from Asher's presentation that students can make choices for majors, classes and activities according to their interests and goals in order to undergo a positive college experience.

"Learning should be a transformative process," Keller noted. "Arts are important for teaching us how to think, but they are also helpful in transforming people's outlook on life and understanding of people around them. This is important for more reasons than ultimate success in a career or college, but for individual, human needs. The things I learn in college are valuable to me as a person as much as they are to to me as a future contributing member of society."

Asher's presentation compelled Freshman undeclared natural science major Tim Iverson of Vandergrift, Pennsylvania to consider educational pursuits beyond the books.

"I wanted to do research into internships about physics and mathematics, look up career options in my fields of interest, and I finally started to think of reasons to acquire enhancement fund money," Iverson said. "Had Mr. Asher not come and done his presentation, I feel I may have graduated and been one of those one out of six students who take a job that does not require college."

While impacting students in such a way, Asher said, "It's incredibly satisfying to know that something you say could change a student's life forever."

Asher also advised that students should be tuned into their own thoughts.

"You have to listen to that inner voice," he explained. "This particular generation feels they need to hurry, and they have this rush to have certainty."

Asher said he commonly tells students it is okay to take time to figure out your future and noted the Wall Street Journal dubbed it the "odyssey," for the time taken after graduation prior to settling into a career role.

Asher's workshop also covered planning for continuing education. "Most people discover how to get a Ph.D. about half way through it," Asher said. "We teach them before they apply how to do it. Figure it out before you start, and if you take time before graduate school or starting a career that is okay too."

Asher recommends that students utilize all that they have learned and to draw on the knowledge of their educators to help shape their own future.

"Take the experience of all your teachers and instructors and it can make a difference in your future," he said. "Education is not for career prep. It's for life."

Student reflections on asher's presentation:
From Josh Hughes writing the impression of classmate Ray Edwards:
"Ray got a bunch of good ideas from Mr. Asher. He also liked the attitude Don had. Josh liked Don Asher's lecture. It was informative, knowledgeable and engaging. Overall, he found it helpful to be reminded of many things he's heard from Core professors."

Kelsi Lindblad writing about the workshop experience of Dara Fennell:
"Dara thought the most intriguing idea presented by Mr. Asher was the idea that one should pass benefits one has on to others. It is a philosophy Dara has been taught since childhood, and has always been especially fond of. Perhaps if more people ascribed to this philosophy the world would be a happier place."

Leah Keller:
"Asher thinks highly of the Honors College, and I am glad he writes about it so other people who would benefit from school and life here can learn about it."

Tim Iverson:
"The presentation was invaluable to me. I now want to do research on where I can go with my passion for math and mechanical physics. I want to go places to apply those passions to entertainment, specifically in the Hollywood stunt business or in sports entertainment. Hopefully, the information I gained today and the information I intend to seek and apply will lead me to the success that Mr. Asher described."

Julie Lozon writing about what Lindsay Scatena gained:
"There were some new ideas, such as ideas for uses of achievement grants, that she had not previously thought about. Lindsay does not really have any intentions of grad school immediately after college. So, she felt that a lot of what Asher presented should definitely be applied to her life now in order to get the most out of these four years before entering the workforce."


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