By Maria Andrea Gonzalez
Student, Honors College
High school was a time where students never really had to worry about their professional development. Now that we are in college, students must develop their professional skills as they go hand in hand with their majors. So, the question is, how do we as students learn to develop our professionalism if we never had the chance to explore it in high school? Well, the GCU Honors College offers a program called the Professional, Academic and Career (P.A.C.) Development Program that helps students acquire the skills necessary to achieve their full potential in their professional and academic journey throughout their undergraduate studies.
Program manager of the Honors College, Dennis Williams, talked about how the program benefited past and present participants, why it is important for students to put themselves out there and why taking advantage of this exclusive honors program becomes a helpful resource when applying for graduate schools and future jobs. Dennis mentioned how P.A.C was going very well for students because they have told him countless times that this program was by far one of the best decisions they have made for their professional development because of the networking connections, job offers and internship opportunities many have received through speakers and other group members.
One of the amazing parts of participating in this development and leadership program is that students who are really putting their best efforts into the program often land awesome opportunities along the way. For example, two participants from this year became a part of the professional advisory board and the marketing team for GCU. This goes to show how this program opens many doors for students, and the connections they make through networking end up helping them succeed in their undergraduate years here at GCU.
Dennis explains that students who are a part of this program must have the desire to succeed because it’s that “go-getter” mentality that helps students thrive, become recognized and lead to success. Developing relationships in our undergraduate years is crucial for those who will apply for graduate school, and here at GCU, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to be able to sit down and develop these tight-knit relationships with our professors. Not to mention, some of these professors become mentors for their students, which gives the students the opportunity to receive the best advice and tips from these professors on what they should be doing to reach that academic success we all aspire to have.
In addition to having one-on-one time with mentors, students participating in P.A.C. also have one-on-one time with Dennis. Dennis believes that this sit-down session is important because he asks students what they think they need to become successful, then takes all of that feedback and creates events within the program to get students to practice their skills and get out of their comfort zone. These events include mock interviews, networking events, meeting a panel of professionals, opportunities for public speaking practice, time management and a practical session that helps students develop a portfolio on how to brand themselves.
Through these experiences, students have attested that they have felt more confident when going in for an interview. Students claim that the overall experience and facing that challenge of putting yourself out there helped alleviate the stress and anxiety that came from their initial fear. After much practice, students felt as though they had nothing to worry about, and now speaking in public is a breeze for many thanks to P.A.C.
Overall, students said that P.A.C is a wonderful learning experience, because although it is a focused program, it’s also a place where students can have fun and enjoy the time they have with their peers, Dennis, their mentors, professors and GCU faculty along the way. The fact that this program is so engaging is what helps students thrive the most, but along with most things in this world, it follows the principle that you only get out what you put in, so if you have that “go-getter” drive, then P.A.C. may be the program for you.
Interested in learning more about the Honors College at Grand Canyon University? Visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page for more information.