As we start a new year, many of us are making resolutions and setting goals. We took this opportunity to alumni on St. Thomas Connect, “What advice do you have for students as they set academic and professional goals for 2024?” Check out their advice below, and connect with other alumni like them on St. Thomas Connect!

Follow your Interests.

“Take this time of the year to reflect on what truly fulfills you, makes you passionate, and how you want to make a living during your working years.  You might not always find the two overlap, but there are always ways to help bridge the divide.  Sometimes what we are passionate about or love to do cannot fulfill financial needs or dreams, but you can always find rewarding careers that allow you to help fulfill your dreams in other ways (volunteering time, charitable partnerships, side hustles, furthering education, etc.).”

Jayson Seema, Class of 2001

“As an independent career coach in my retirement years, I recommend doing what you enjoy doing and what makes you fulfilled at this time.  Know that it will change through the years and be aware of that as trends change in the marketplace and new opportunities arise.  Don’t be pressured in to doing something you don’t enjoy.” 

Tom Colosimo, Class of 1978

“If you know exactly what you want to do or if you have a job lined up, congratulations!  Most of us know what we like, and we have chosen a field of study aligned with that passion.  Be open-minded to the various career opportunities within your area of study.  Your career will likely change or evolve over time.  You are not deciding the next 30 years, just the first step…”

Tom Fischer, Class of 2009

Be yourself.

“In this entire world you have ONLY one person to compete with – the person you were yesterday! “

Steve Donohue, Class of 1974

“Often I hear people, particularly women, attribute their success to luck.  Your success is due to your hard work and experience, not luck.  Never diminish yourself.”

Melissa Fors, Class of 2001

“Always be true to yourself and others. It is important to be who you are, because people can see right through frauds. Also trust yourself and your abilities and talents. Do what you do well and accentuate it.”

Bill Kilduff, Class of 1975

Use the Tommie Network.

“Leverage the Tommie network! ‘Tommies hire Tommies’ is 100% real, and so take advantage of the many alumni in terms of the mentorship and professional opportunities they can offer.”

Eshan Varma, Class of 2019

“Connect with a working professional who is doing the kind of work you want to do in the future or a type of work you want to learn more about. Ask them how they landed in their career and what it’s like to work in their field. Through these connections you’ll learn more about a career that you might want to peruse and make a powerful connection that may catapult your career in the future.”

Linda Lysdahl, M.A., Class of 2011

“Take advantage of all the resources and build your network early. There are so many great jobs, internships and professionals the Twin Cities to get your feet wet and build upon your skills!”

Megan Hannon, CVA, Class of 2018

“You are only as strong as your network. I have worked in Europe for 10 years and in the US for 20 years and the strength of the relationships I have built have carried me from one job to another. Find ways to reach out to former colleagues to keep connections fresh and never leave a job with bad feelings. A potential employer can reach out to any mutual connection on LinkedIn for a reference without your knowledge.”

Steven Dahlin, Class of 1992

“Network with other professionals constantly.  Join professional associations to keep engaged and learn more ongoing.  Stay relevant!”

Tom Colosimo, Class of 1978

Enjoy the present.

“Embrace the unknown! Over-planning can limit the immense possibilities that appear from every crevice of your daily life. Breathe in everything. Reflect. Live in the present.”

Tim DeCelle, Class of 2007

“Enjoy your time at St Thomas. There will come a time where you wish you were back on campus and had all your friends in one place. Still work hard and get as much accomplished in your time at St Thomas as well as maintaining a well-balanced work and social life.”

Tom Sucher, Class of 2023

Look forward.

“As you move through your educational and academic goals, try to see if your employer or future employer offers tuition reimbursement.”

Linda Ladley, Class of 2010

“Write down your goals, post them somewhere you can see them daily, hold yourself accountable and take steps to get there. It’s a journey that often takes time to achieve the most meaningful goals.”

Mark Ellis, Class of 1990

“Think long term if possible, regarding your goals, and of the steps in your life that need to be taken in order to accomplish those goals.”

Thomas Engrav, Class of 2010
By Marit Aaseng
Marit Aaseng Assistant Director, Career Readiness