Students Urged to Plan for Future
via T&D : Students urged to plan for future
A veteran of the tech industry is encouraging high school students to prepare for their careers now.
“You’re going to put your plan in place right now,” Scott McGregor told students Thursday. McGregor is a global program manager within the World-Wide Sales Training organization at Cisco. “Nobody’s going to give you anything because you were raised in a single-family home, nobody’s going to give you anything because you’re black, nobody’s going to give you anything because you’re poor,” he said.
McGregor spoke to more than 150 high school seniors from Orangeburg and Calhoun counties who attended a youth forum on Thursday at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. McGregor encouraged the students to take advantage of their schools’ career service departments to begin applying for internships.
“You’re going to go right to that career services and say, ‘I want to talk about internships,’” he said. Taking steps early allows students to stand out from their competitors. “When you start early as a freshman, realize that in two or three years, however long it takes you to get that degree, you’re going to get that job,” McGregor said. He advised students to watch what they post to social media sites. “You need to start guarding your integrity and start guarding your personal life right now,” he said. “The entire world doesn’t need to know your business.”
McGregor said businesses use social media to research potential employees before hiring.
“You don’t want to give anybody the opportunity to keep you from doing what you want to do because they think they know you,” he said. “Don’t let people say who you are or what you’re about because you’re from Orangeburg, or because you’re from Aiken, or because you’re from Manning.” “You write your story,” he added. “Today is today, and you are in control of everything, and every decision, and every step you take from today and today forward.”
The annual Youth Forum was sponsored this year by the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, the S.C. Department of Commerce and OCtech with the goal of reaching high school seniors without post-graduation plans. LSCOG Workforce Administrator Andre Anderson said, “It’s always very beneficial to have someone come and talk to the young people about how they can move forward with their careers.” Joni McDaniel with the Department of Commerce said they always try to bring in keynote speaker who can connect with the students and ensure students understand the need to be qualified coming out of college.
Allendale-Fairfax High School student Jerome Polite said he learned that it is never too early to start. “It was a very inspiring speech and motivational,” he said. “Getting out there and doing it can put you ahead.” Polite plans to attend Clemson University in the fall and major in accounting.
Tori Rutland, a student at North Middle/High School, said she and her sister will be first-generation college students and feel the responsibility. “We really do have that responsibly on us to go to college and do something with our lives,” she said. “We’ve got goals.” Rutland plans to major in mathematics at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.
“What I really liked from what he said was when he said don’t let anybody stop you,” Angel Haigler said. “You have regrets, but you can still accomplish whatever it is you want to do.” Haigler is a student at North Middle/High School and felt that she really needed to hear McGregor’s words. “There’s a lot going on right now,” she said. “You’re trying to figure out what you want to do, where you want to go.” “To have people come and talk to you and help guide you in that direction is really nice,” Haigler added. She plans to attend OCtech in the fall, noting that she wants to be a registered nurse.
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