POLKcast: Flying through the First Year Experience with Cate Igo

Posted on by Polk Newsroom


MF: Madison Fantozzi

LB: Leah Bartholomay

CI: Cate Igo

CI We don’t do anything fun in the First Year Experience, it’s all work.

LB That’s a huge lie. That is a lie.

[Theme Music]

MF Welcome back to Polk Cast. I’m your host, Madison Fantozzi.

LB And I’m your co-host Leah Bartholomay. Woo!

MF And today we’re joined by Cate Igo, the director of academic success initiatives.

CI Thanks for having me. I’m excited and I tend to refer to myself as the director of FYE.

MF Perfect.

LB Nice.

MF That makes sense.

MF Nice. So, for our students who are listening today, too, I just wanna throw in, ’cause you’re such a great supporter of our social media, so if you’re an FYE student or an alumni or you know you

just wanna show us some love, just go like us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and who knows, maybe you’ll win a prize or there’s gonna be some giveaways. So, awesome stuff. Yeah, so do you wanna tell us a little bit about First Year Experience? What do students need to know?

CI Hmm, I think the most important thing for students to know about their first year in college is that they’re not in it alone. We have so many programs and departments and people who are here to help them. And that’s what the First Year Experience is kind of all about. It highlights different parts of the college that really help an incoming student be a lot more successful. So for example, a first part of that is that a student, as they come through the onboarding process, so just what a student does is they complete their application, and their financial aid application, they do their online orientation, but then they go to something called pre-advising.

And in pre-advising, they meet advisors, and they learn about our different degree programs, and they have a chance to learn about Pathways, which is a cool new initiative we have. We can talk more about that later. I’m a nerd, I like that kinda stuff. And they have a chance to register for classes for the first time. And then after that, they go to First Flight.

And then we’ll talk a lot more about that, ’cause it’s just the coolest thing ever. But that’s kinda… I just want new students to know that. There are a lot of specific things that are embedded into the First Year Experience, from their First Year Seminar, through to their Freshman Read, to different student life activities.

There’s just all kinds of stuff. And it’s hard to find the perfect way of giving students that information. So we’re always trying to explore, like thank goodness for social media. Because you guys highlight events, and highlight things that are coming up. We use the calendar, they get information the First Year Seminar. But there’s just a lot to be done guys. So get out there and do stuff! Get connected!

LB Yeah, get connected.

CI Become a part of our community.

LB Yeah, yeah.

MF Do you, do you find them, or do they have to come find you, if they’re going into the First Year Experience or the first year quirks.

CI Well if all things are working perfectly, I think it works both ways.

MF Okay.

CI Right? We find them, my office, yes I’m the evil woman who sends you lots and lots of emails. It happens, it’s me, I do, I send a lot of–

LB It’s me.

CI I send a lot of emails out to students. And when they meet me in person, they’ll be like, “Oh, you’re Cate Igo.” I’m like, “Right, right. “It’s me, I’m the one.” So, I go looking for them like that, before they ever get on campus. We also have mentors, and mentors reach out to their mentees who are in the first year program. So they go hunting for their students. I don’t want that to sound Elmer Fuddy, if anybody gets that reference.

LB That definitely sounded Elmer Fuddy.

CI Can you do the Elmer Fudd voice?

MF Oh gosh.

LB I don’t think so.

CI Okay, all right, anyway. So, but then also, sometimes they need stuff, so they’ll come looking for us. They might come knock on our door. Unfortunately students come looking for us when they have a problem. Meaning, they’ve waited so long to ask for help that now something’s gone wrong. And we just wish, I wish all of them would come to my office in their first few weeks, just to say hi and get connected and start getting resources instead of waiting until don dun dun don, something goes wrong.

LB It’s inevitable.

MF So can you tell us a little bit about the services that they can get at your offices.

CI Well. Sure, I mean we have, through the First Year Experience program, we have academic success coaches. So if a student is having distress, in a class, or just, it’s such a hard transition from high school to college. Sometimes students make the mistake of thinking it’s year 13 of high school, and it’s so not that. You know, in high school, you go to school all day long, and then you have little-to-no homework, if you’re doing it right. Just kidding guys.

In college, it’s so upside down. You know, you go to class, maybe three hours a week, or six hours a week, or if you’re a full-time student, 12 hours a week. And then you have mountains of homework and assignments you have to do on your own time. So you have to really have good time management skills. You have to know how to be autonomous.

And you do actually have to read your books, even though you maybe didn’t read a book the whole time you were in high school. I hear that all the time, shocks me. So, academic success coaches can help students with time management skills, learning how to really digest a college level textbook, because, and honestly, just helping students get the professional reference of college. It’s not school, it’s professional training.

Whether you’re taking your English class or your math class, or your humanities class. maybe you wanna be an accountant, you’re like, “What does English have to do with accounting?” Well you’re gonna have to write reports as an accountant. Maybe you want to be an art museum curator, and you’re like, “Why do I need to know math?” Well if you’re the curator, you’re gonna be managing the museum’s budget.

And so you need to know how to crunch some numbers together. So, success coaches can help first time in college students with all that. They can also get help, even though we have designated offices, like academic advising, where success advisors are located, if a student is having trouble understanding the pathway that they should be on, through the eight pathways that we have at the college, or they wanna experiment with maybe exploring a different program map, or different transfer intent, we can help talk about that with them.

They can also get a mentor through my office if they want to apply, and get a mentor who has the same major that they do. So that’s kind of a fun thing that they can do. And certainly they could come in and learn about a lot of the activities that are going on that they might be able to go and participate in, whether it’s a community-based service project that’s gonna be happening or just some fun on-campus thing that we have going on. So does that kinda answer your–

MF I think so.

CI Cool.

MF What are some of the fun events that you all put on?

CI Maybe, so, fun stuff, I think First Flight kinda sets the tone. That is the event that we hold in, it used to be the week just before school started, but now it’s so gigantic and there’re so many students who come, we can’t fit everybody, so we do it on the Lakeland Campus twice preceding school, and we do it on the Winter Haven Campus once, because we actually have a much larger space on the winter Haven Campus. And all in all, typically about 1200 to 1300 students attend First Flight. So yay, you guys, that’s awesome.

LB That’s awesome.

CI It’s really just a fun celebration, a party. When they arrive, they get their class T-shirt and a bookbag, and we give ’em all kinds of different swag, like they might get First Year Experience sunglasses, or, you know, we used to give Frisbees, but I don’t think students play with those anymore. But, we gave Popsockets, and just stuff that we think that they’ll like, or that other students tell us is cool and popular.

And then they go into, they start out in a nice, cool ceremony, where they get to meet Dr. Falconetti, our president. And she’s just so warm and caring with our students. She really genuinely enjoys meeting them. And so that’s kinda neat, that they get to know right off, the person who’s running the college really cares about them as individuals.

And then they get to meet the student government presidents from the campus that they’re on. Because we want them to know, students lead here. You know, you basically run the show. You’re the boss. And we’re just all here to help you accomplish the goal that you set for yourself. They get to meet alumni who have graduated in recent years, who get to share their personal story, and how they are now successfully doing whatever goal they set for themselves. So that’s kind of fun.

They get to hear a little bit about their First Year Seminar from the department chair over that program from the campus that they’re gonna be on. They get introduced to the Freshman Read for the year, which this year is “My Calling”, really cool book. And don’t worry guys, the chapters are teeny tiny, and you won’t have any trouble getting through it. And they, after the ceremony’s over, and sometimes we have a little dance party at the ceremony, and sometimes we do a little interactive thing on social media just to make sure everybody knows what that stuff is. But then we, sort of everybody leaves, and they go to a Pathways breakout session. So they get to go meet with other students who have the same major they have.

LB Cool.

CI So that’s super cool. Because it allows them, so if I’m a business major, I’d like to know who else is studying business. Or if I’m a STEM student, Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math, it’d be

fun to meet other students who are doing that. And the music students get to go to the Arts Pathway. They love connecting with each other, because they very quickly become a family. So they get to spend about 45 minutes together, hearing from the main faculty who’ll be leading their classes. And they get to see the very specific program map that tells them the exact classes they need from start to finish, from their first term, all the way through to graduation. So they know exactly what to take. So that’s, to me… Their eyes always light up. They get so excited. ‘Cause it’s not a mystery anymore. How do I get outta here?

LB Yeah. The map is nice.

CI Map is so clear. And then, we really go to party. Because everyone leaves, then we go to this big giant picnic that Dr. Falconetti throws for us. And at each one of the events, two students, sometimes three, win a scholarship just for being present.

MF That’s awesome.

CI So, yeah. And they, I think everyone just has a really nice time. It’s a great time of hanging out. All the teachers who teach the First Year Seminar come and chat it up. And we just try to have a good time.

MF Sounds like a good time, yeah.

CI It’s a good time.

MF Awesome.

CI I have a good time. So that’s one of the really fun things that we do.

MF Cool. I heard you mention the First Year Seminar, will you tell us a little more about that, and what students can expect?

CI You sure you want me to keep talking?

MF Totally.

CI Okay, well, the First Year Seminar is designed like an extended orientation.

MF Okay.

CI So, like you know, ’cause the online orientation is super, super long. Anybody who’s done it, I know will agree with me, it’s like is this thing ever gonna end? And so, you know like anybody, we can zone out when things are getting kinda boring.

And so that happens in online orientation sometimes. So in the First Year Seminar, students get a chance to actually interact with each other and learn about critical key resources on campus, from things like the free tutoring we have, and the TLCC, to the writing studio and the writing labs, if they have needs there.

They also learn about special programs like LSAMP, that’s a special grant program designed to help STEM students. They can get access to apprenticeships and scholarships that actually pay them to do things on campus while they’re here at Polk. They also learn some really basic things about career research and how to do internships while they’re here at Polk. Students often think, “Oh well, “when I come to Polk, I’m just gonna do my Gen Ed classes, “and then I’ll worry about my major “when I get to the university.” And it doesn’t work like that. Now you have prerequisites that you have to complete to get accepted into your university.

MF Right.

CI So, in the First Year Seminar, we make sure that students know what all their prereqs are, and that they know how to transfer to their institution that they’re going to when they leave Polk. And that they understand how important those internships and community service opportunities are. Because sometimes they’re applying for what we would call a limited access program, and it’s hard to get in.

You know, if your trying to go to Gainesville and you wanna become a Gator, you can’t just think, “Oh, I’m gonna finish up at Polk, “and I’m gonna walk right into Gainesville.” Doesn’t work like that. You still have to be really competitive. So that’s another thing the seminar does. It helps students to understand that. They also work their way through the Freshman Read together in that course, and have a lot of group discussions about it. A book we did in the past was, “The Other Wes Moore”.

There was a lot of talking about that. It was a really inspirational book. I encourage people to go and get that one and look it over. We’re always looking for people, students who like to help us choose the next Freshman Read. So if you’re out there and you wanna do that, give a shout out

to Ms. Cate. I’ll hook you up. And, so, I mean that’s kinda the gist. It’s learning different things about how to be successful, and that real important career research. And probably one of the things that we hear most about, from students in the First Year Seminar is a signature project called the AIR Project. So AIR stands for attend, image, and reflect. So they have to attend a variety of academic, social, cultural events on campus in that first term. You know, that get a nice rubric, that tells them what they have to do.

They have to take a selfie or an image while they’re there, so we know they actually went. And then, they reflect on the experience they had, and how it either helped them to be a more successful student, or help them get more engaged on campus. Or that they didn’t like it. ‘Cause, you know, that could happen. Everybody doesn’t like everything. And then at the end of their semester, they do a presentation, the dreaded presentation. And I think that can be scary for students to do a presentation, but you know it’s just really an important part of college.

LB Yeah.

CI To know how to stand up in front of people and chat and talk and–

MF Sounds horrifying.

CI Well I think sometimes students feel like that. So we have to really help ’em work through that anxiety. It’s a part of being successful. But I think overall, the most important part of that class is truly just engaging, finding a way to become a part of the college community. And that doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody.

Maybe I’m somebody who likes to go to student activities, and I wanna do a pie-eating contest, or I wanna get in the bouncy house, or do those kinds of things. Or maybe I’m the type of student who just wants to hang out in the library and go to tutoring. Or maybe I’m the kinda student who likes to spend time with my faculty members, you know, talking in depth about the content. So engagement isn’t the same for everybody. It’s just critical that everybody engage and find a way to make this campus their academic home. So that’s kinda what it’s about, building relationships and getting connected.

LB What are their presentations about?

CI The presentation is, it’s sort of a summary. So it starts out, they tell us a little bit about their academic history. So I had one student who was from India, so she had pictures of herself.

MF Very cool.

CI And they consider their grammar program,

MF Wow.

CI and yeah it was really cool. They all had cute little uniforms on, and there were colored flags everywhere. And then they talk about the thing that most encouraged them prior to getting to Polk State, and the thing that most discouraged them academically before they get to Polk. And sadly, we often hear discouraging stories about math. Like, “Ah I had this math disaster.”

Or “I had some math shaming.” I know for me, like when I was in fourth grade, Mr. Stolvi, I’m outing you. He shamed me at the blackboard. I loved math. And I was in Algebra II, and he made everybody go up to the front board. And he gave me some problem, and I made some kind of mistake, and he was like, “Ah, you’re so stupid. “I can’t believe you did that.” Blah, blah, blah, blah. And that just really turned me off of math. And I hear those kind of sad stories.

LB Mm-hm.

MF Right.

CI From students, in their AIR presentations, like the bad thing.

LB Right.

CI Good things can be clubs they were in,

MF Cool.

CI or friends they had, or cool teachers. And then they actually show us their pictures they took as they did their attend, image, reflection stuff.

MF Neat.

CI And then at the end, they also had to do a career interview. They had to go meet someone who’s doing the job they think they’d like to do.

LB Cool.

CI Do a nice interview with them, take pictures, if the person will allow, and then they present information about that career. And now that they’re at the end of their first term, do they still think they’re interested in that career, and then what advice do they have for other freshman. And then we use those AIR projects to show other students when they come through the door in future terms.

LB Cool, neat.

MF Really cool.

LB Really cool.

MF What do you hear from students that they really enjoy the most about FYE?

CI Hmm, what do they most enjoy about FYE? Free food.

MF Wait there’s free food? Now I’m definitely going.

CI Food is always free. We get a lot of feedback from First Flight. Students always tell us that they didn’t, they weren’t expecting to have so much fun. They thought it was gonna be really serious. And so they really enjoy that. Some students really connect with the Freshman Read, you know, they’re surprised by it, again, because they haven’t read a book in billion years or ever. And so they didn’t know they were gonna like it.

And then obviously, students love having a mentor. It’s so cool to have a peer mentor, somebody who has walked a mile in your shoes, they’re still here, they’re still going through the process, so they’re a peer, they’re like you, it’s just that they’ve already found some of those key people, or those secret ingredients that make things a little bit easier.

LB Right.

CI And so, you know, they don’t, when students have challenges, they don’t enjoy coming to ask old people like me. They wanna ask somebody, who’s, like they can identify with a little bit more closely. So, students really like having peer mentors.

LB I bet you the peer mentors don’t send a million emails out.

CI No, I think the send a lot of text messages.

LB Oh okay.

CI And I would if I could. Yeah, and I give my phone number out to all my students, and I do get texts. But I try to caution them, “Please don’t text Ms. Cate “after midnight, unless you really have to.”

LB Or Madison, it’s after eight.

MF Yeah.

CI Oh.

MF I’m a grandma.

LB So has there been a pie-eating contest? ‘Cause I’m interested.

CI I know that several years ago we had one. It was the same year that we had the zoo, when they brought the lion out.

LB Yeah, it was a disaster.

CI And they brought–

LB Pie-eating contest was a disaster for sure.

CI It was messy. It was very messy. But they do all kinds of crazy stuff. They have pumpkin carving, they get those, it’s the glow nights where we have like the foam and suds party. And like, no, I’m sorry, the suds is just root beer. But the foam is real. It’s like a true foam pit. And the foam is everywhere.

MF Wow, who cleans that up?

CI I think it just sort of dissolves into the grass.

MF Oh okay. Hopefully that’s good for the environment.

CI Yeah, that’s kinda cool. They do all kinds of weird things through SALO.

LB Dunk tank.

CI Oh yeah, the dunk tank, and students love it. ‘Cause every year they give away tickets to Universal Halloween Horror Nights.

MF Oh yeah.

CI And the one that they have out at Busch Gardens. They’re not doing Spooktacular tickets at Disney. I think they think that’s too tamed. But students get to compete in scavenger hunts to find clues to get a ticket.

MF Cool.

CI They also post fun, like little trivia questions on their social media pages. And like the first five students who find the message, get to show up in the office and get a T-shirt.

MF Cool.

LB Cool.

CI I think one of the cool, fun things we’re doing this year, and you guys are probably already doing it, if you’re a student and you’re listening to this, although I can’t believe you’re still in their listening, is the Mission book. So the Mission book is 15 different opportunities for students to go on campus and learn about something cool, whether it’s student activities, or the TRiO program, that helps students transfer to university, or the Arts program, because you could, oh my gosh, we have theater and we have choir and we have a special performance series.

We have so many incredible amazing bands and performance series things that come to campus, and it’s always free for students but they can go to any one of those 15 things, take their mission book with them, and get a stamp/sticker in the book on that item, and then if they’ll just get eight of them done, they can bring it to the First Year Experience office and get swag. Like right now I have baseball caps, I have umbrellas, I’ve got all kinds of tote bags, like tote bags galore. I’ve got these cube things that have cool Post-it Notes and stuff inside them to mark your books. I’ve even got tire pressure gauges,

MF What?

CI for those people who are car monkeys.

MF Wow.

LB Whoa.

CI Yeah, so we’ve got stuff and we wanna give it to you. You just gotta get your Mission book done.

LB Cate is also willing to do a free giveaway to the first student that comes to her office to say that they listened to Polk Cast.

MF Oh yeah.

CI Oh I will. I so will do that.

LB First student.

CI Number one! Be number one!

MF I’d like to meet that student.

LB Yeah.

CI And I will expand that. First student on each campus.

MF Ooh.

LB Okay, there you go.

CI So Winter Haven and Lakeland.

LB We’ll even throw in a Polk Cast mug.

MF Oh yeah we will.

CI My office in Winter Haven is in WFA, the Fine Arts building, 147. So in the, it’s in, the suite is in the lobby to the theater building, or to the theater entrance. And in Lakeland, I’m in the LLC, the Lakeland Learning Center, which is the same building where the library is located. But I’m on the

second floor in 2209. That’s the number of our suite, you just come right in, and you’ll see my door there. It says mentor central, and there’s pictures everywhere. Pleas pop by. Actually, study abroad’s in my office there, and global initiatives, you might learn about how to take a trip somewhere.

LB Yeah.

MF Sounds fun.

LB Yeah.

CI Yeah.

MF Well tell us a little bit about yourself and your calling, Cate. Why are you so passionate about FYE?

CI I’m not passionate about FYE, no I’m just kidding.

LB That is also a lie.

CI Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. You know, it’s crazy. So, like our students, when I first went to school, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And initially, I wanted to be a movie producer. And so I started out in the Arts Department. And they made me take a drawing class and a painting class, and a couple of acting classes. And I discovered very quickly, this was not what I wanted to do.

MF Oh, wow.

CI I just didn’t have the right knack for it. So, then I switched, of all places, to computer programming. And this was in the stone ages.

LB Drastic, that’s a drastic leap.

MF You know.

CI When your computer took up, like the size of a dining room table. That was one computer. And to program the computer, you didn’t type at a keyboard. We had these paper cards, like the size of an envelope, and it would run through this machine that would put holes in it, your programming code. And to do a simple thing, like to make a flower appear on the screen, it might take 200 cards.

And so, I spent a lot of time in the computer lab. And I could do all the tasks that my professors asked me to do in programming, but they would always say that I did it wrong. Because I wasn’t doing it the way they wanted me to do it, in terms of the programming language. So, they just encouraged me to find something else to do.

So, ultimately, I ended up deciding that you know, I just need to hang with people. And so I became a clinical social worker. And, for me, that meant not like DCF and adoptions and things like that. But I actually became a psychotherapist. So I have worked in psychotherapy at Disney and the Disney properties. I’ve worked for municipalities, so for city government.

MF Okay.

CI Even worked here for Winter Haven and City of Lakeland and Auburndale, like lots of cities. I’ve worked for hospitals. I actually worked at the State Hospital in Chattahoochee for a while. That was really wild.

MF Really?

CI Had some of the most interesting clients ever. Had this one guy who huffed gasoline when he was 16 years old, and did a lot of brain damage. And so now, I’m sure to this day, he sees dinosaurs everywhere, all the time. And to make the step from his lock-down unit to the quarter way house, which would allow him to walk around, he had to be able to leave the residence and go to the cafeteria for lunch.

So, as an intern, I was assigned to help him find a way to do that. And so, you know sometimes you have to enter the patient’s psychosis to help them. And so, I just went and got a whole bunch of books on dinosaurs, and we sat down and we identified the ones that are scary and eat meat and eat people, and the ones that are safe and eat plants. And so, if he looked outside and he only saw plant eaters, he could run to the cafeteria.

LB Wow.

CI And if he saw meat eaters, he would wait a little while.

MF Right.

CI So, it just worked like a charm. So, I did that for a long, long time. But after–

LB Now, were the dinosaurs also around when you were doing the computer stuff?

CI Yeah, probably. There’s probably little Stonehenge men inside there, yeah. Chipping things out on a tablet. When I got out into private practice and was working for some organizations, what started happening over and over and over again, was that I kept getting all these middle-aged, depressed, anxiety-ridden people who hated their lives and hated their jobs. And no matter how much therapy we did, we could only progress to a certain point.

And it was just frustrating me to death. And so, you know, sometimes I can convince them to change their career and move forward. But you know, when you’re in your late 40s, 50s, and you have a mortgage and you’ve got kids and you got stuff going on, it’s hard to make those kind of changes.

And so I just decided I wanted to move into more preventative environment. And so at that time, Charlie Lyle was the dean of student services at Polk State College, and he decided to bring a counseling program to the college. And so I got connected to him through friends, and did a little interview, and so voila, came to Polk State. It’s been, I’ve been here 13 years now. Oh my gosh, such a long time.

LB Wow.

CI So when I first came, I was a student mental health counselor. And my goal was to help students find their true passion, find their true calling, now, as young adults. It’s so sad how many students we get that when you ask them what they wanna do, they’ll say, “Well, my mom wants me to be a nurse.” “My dad said I need to be a pharmacist.” “My grandma said I need to go into business.” And so they don’t really know what they wanna do.

They’re just doing what their family thinks will help them be financially secure. And so we have to really work hard to help students understand that if you’re good at something and you have passion for something, you can absolutely pay for your cheerios. You don’t have to be a nurse if

you don’t wanna be a nurse. And so it’s, that is a challenge. So to me that’s a huge part of my calling, is helping students find what’s right for them. And so I was fortunate after I came to the college, that it’s a growing environment, a learning environment. And within a few years we were able to create the First Year Experience program. And so that’s what I do now.

LB Yeah, that’s exciting.

CI Yay.

LB It’s very exciting. It’s cool.

MF Well what is some of your top advice for students while they’re looking for their calling, or navigating the college environment here?

CI Such a great question. I think the first thing that I tell students, if they’re totally lost and they have no clue, they’re just blank, “I don’t know what I wanna do,” we start by asking the question, “Okay, so if the entire government system changed tomorrow, “and no one had to work, “and the government was gonna provide for your healthcare “and your housing and your food, “but you had to do something everyday, “and you could do anything you wanted, “but you had to do something, “what would you do?” And people will say all kinds of things, “Well I’d go to the beach all day.”

“Well I’d go shopping.” “Well I’d just write or I’ll draw.” So you start to get an idea of the types of interests they have. So for a student who says they’d go to the beach all day, there are so many careers that are about the beach. You know, marine biology and preservation. It just goes on and on and on. For a student who likes shopping, there’s design, there’s merchandising, there’s supply chain management. I mean the list just goes on and on. But they’ve never thought of those fun things they like to do, in terms of employment and things they could do for a career, versus a job, which is you gotta go do a job versus a career, which is, you love it. You can’t wait to get there in the morning, and you don’t think about it as work.

MF Right.

CI So that’s one big tip. I say start with that question if you’re completely blank. If you have kind of a direction, absolutely use the resources on campus. We have Career Services Department, who are currently Jeannette Grullon in Winter Haven, and Rosebud Leslie in Lakeland.

And those folks can help you learn about career research, and how do you find things, and through our library databases. Honestly there’s a lot of cool stuff just in Google. We also have a really neat resource online on Polk.edu called Career Central. And I’m sorry, Career Coach. We also have another one called College Central, which is a little bit different. But Career Coach is designed to follow the eight pathways that we have here at the college. And so if a student knows their kind of interested in health sciences, and they’d sorta like to work with people, they can go into Career Coach, tap on health sciences, and see a ton of different jobs that are in that career field.

And it’ll even show them the availability of those jobs, specifically for our market, right here in Polk County, or the Tampa Bay region. They can reset that map. It’ll tell them how much money they can make, what kind of school they would need. So those are just a few tips. But certainly, you know, talk to people, come see me, do online… The main thing is just don’t sit still and think it’s gonna come to you. You gotta poke around.

And I think a lot of times, people aren’t interested in a career, because they’ve only seen or heard about jobs they didn’t like. There are millions of jobs you’ve never even heard of. Maybe in robotics, or in drone technology. The fields in technology are continuously evolving. And so just be active. Be proactive, dig deep. Look, search, seek. You’ll figure it out.

LB That’s pretty funny you brought up the parents, and how a lot of times students are, you know, you hear from your parents, “Oh, you should be a doctor.” “You should be a lawyer.” “You should be the policeman.” When I was growing up, my aunt worked for the WWF, which is now the WWE, right?

CI Whoa.

LB Something along those lines, wrestling, right. And she was a graphic design artist. And then she worked for Harley-Davidson. So she always had like these kind of neat jobs where she was a graphic design artist. She got to work on products, and this and that and the other thing. So my parents were always like, “Leah, you should do graphic design.

“Look how well Tammy’s doing,” or, you know, “your aunt’s doing. “You should do graphic design.” And I was like, “No, I wanna be a painter. “I wanna make films and documentary movies.” So I went to school for documentary film, and I got outta college, and my first job was graphic design. And I was so mad.

CI Uh-oh, this is turning into an intervention.

LB I was so mad that my parents were right. Not that I’m making boatloads of money, but it was just sort of something that I’m natural at. I’m good at it and they knew that.

CI And you still make documentaries.

LB I do.

CI And you still paint.

LB I do. I still do all of those things.

CI Yeah.

LB But yeah, I just, my, when I was a kid, when I was a student, I was like, “No I’m not gonna sit in an office all day, “sit a computer, stare at a computer. “I wanna do real art.” But this is real art. It’s interesting how you just sort of grow, and fall into that

CI How things evolve over time.

LB how things evolve, so, but yeah, and you’re right. I do still paint and I do still make documentaries.

MF Yeah.

CI So that’s a great example.

LB So you can still do your fun stuff.

CI Yeah, of how you can find a way to combine your interests with a career.

LB Right.

CI And maybe you love basketball, but you’re not someone who’s gonna ever make it to the NBA. So you could become a coach and coach people in athletics, or you could become, go into sports management, and work on the health side of working with those athletes and still play basketball on the weekend.

LB Right.

CI So there’s definitely options. And I didn’t wanna kinda dis on the parents. The parents are so–

LB Oh no, no, no.

CI They absolutely just want their adult students to be successful. That’s just, that’s their only goal, they want their adult children to be able to provide for themselves. Which makes perfect sense. This year we actually started parent orientation at First Flight, to give parents more of an invitation to be part of the academic experience and to become part of the Polk family. So we worked hard to introduce them to the vocabulary that their adult students may be using on campus, and to help them know about the resources that are on campus.

LB Yeah.

CI Because that way, ’cause we’ve learned with generation Z, the first persons they go to with a question or problem are their parents. You know when I was growing up, like the last person you went to was your parents.

MF Right.

CI You’d never go to your folks. And so that’s incredible.

LB What’s generation Z?

CI How things have changed.

CI It’s our current incoming class.

LB Oh.

CI Yeah, the students right now who’re just kinda fresh outta high school. They’re Z-ers, and they go to their folks first. And so we wanted to make sure that we at least introduced the parents to the resource we have, like the tutoring center and the writing studio, and the math lab, those things. So that when their student says, “Oh yeah, English is killing me.” The parent can say, “Well now, I remember from orientation, “they have that tutoring center.

“Have you been up there?” Or they might encourage them to go see their teacher, because students are often reluctant to do that. But if mom suggests it, there you go. Actually we had a mentor training this summer, and one of the questions we asked them in an ice-breaker, is, “Who is your most inspirational person “in your life and why?” And easily 90% of them said their mom.

LB Aww.

MF Aww, precious.

CI I know right.

LB That’s great.

CI So sweet. So moms, definitely encourage your students to use the resources on campus. They’ll do it if you tell them to.

LB Yeah, you gotta tell ’em, you tell ’em.

MF Well it sounds like FYE is the stop for students where they’re gonna learn about all the different services, kind of like what they’re learning in season two of Polk Cast, but, so again, will you tell them where they wanna find you if they wanna stop in to learn more?

CI Sure. Absolutely. Well, you can email me at cigo@polk.edu, so yes I go to school, I go to work like that, I go. Definitely and you can find me on the people page. The people page is a great resource guys, so definitely use that. My office in Winter Haven is located in WFA, the Fine Arts building, 147, which is in the, our suite is located just outside the entrance to the theater, behind the ticket box. And in Lakeland, my office is in the LLC, Lakeland Learning Center, 2209, which is the same building as the library, but I’m on the second floor.

MF Okay, cool.

MF Well thanks for joining us today, and if there’s no other questions, or if you don’t want to add anything, I guess Polk Cast out.