Getcha Mind Right panelists offer post-college transition advice

Ben Warner headed eastbound during his cross-country longboarding trip that raised funds for Boys and Girls Clubs.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a job, or if I was going to save that Boys and Girls Club … but I was confident that I could do one thing well,” Warner said. “And sometimes, we have to hold on to that.”

Warner — a 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient — sat alongside fellow panelists Araik Papyan, Rebecca Rosario and Steven Dombrozi at the Getcha Mind Right event, hosted by the UW Tacoma Center for Service and Leadership and First Gen Fellows organization. The panel aimed to educate juniors and seniors on academic and life transitions experienced by students post-graduation.  

The four panelists — all UWT seniors and alumni — addressed listeners April 29 inside William W. Philip Hall, and offered advice using their personal experience for future graduates.

Faculty and students asked questions regarding self-confidence, support systems and how to manage difficult transitions in everyday life. Key themes from the event include ‘mastering your mindset’ and differentiating fixed and growth mindsets.

Quoted from a handout by Dr. Carol Dweck — a psychology professor at Stanford University — students with a fixed mindset seek to validate themselves while those with a growth mindset focus on self-development. To foster a growth mindset, Dweck urges readers to acknowledge their choice in how they interpret challenges, setbacks and criticism.

Dombrozi — a U.S. veteran and UWT senior — expressed the importance of connecting with those who share similar goals and passions.

“Surround yourself with who you want to be with,” Dombrozi said. “I want to be an entrepreneur, I want to better myself … I’m hustling, volunteering and working with other entrepreneurs … and if they can do it, I can do it too.”

Newer students at UWT absorbed important messages. When asked what the panelists wished they knew as freshmen, all replied with unique answers.

“If you haven’t found a friend here on campus, that should be your first priority,” Papyan, a first-generation senior at UWT, said. “But if that’s already done on your list … go to an event that’s here on campus that you’d never suspect [you’d] go … to.”

And when asked if they were comfortable with where they were in life at the moment, three of the four answered no, and Rosario told listeners why there’s always room to grow.

“I am of the mindset that comfort builds complacency,” Rosario said. “I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with where I’m at because we need to strive for more … to say I’m secure in where I’m at is a more accurate representation, but comfortable — no.”