Winter 2016 — While the usual markers of success in the post-college world are clustered around jobs and salaries, Bryan Williamson is looking to measure something more unusual for students leaving the university and moving into the real world.
Williamson, a senior in political science, is working with the Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI) at Oregon State University to better understand how the “moment,” as Williamson puts it, looks for soon-to-be graduating seniors.
He’s about to embark on a survey-based social science research project to quantify and measure how graduating seniors feel about dynamic and non-traditional aspects of post-college life — aspects like worldview, values and identity.
As a research assistant and teaching assistant at SLI, Williamson will begin surveying students, asking them about topics like what they feel prepared or unprepared for, what’s on their mind and their experiences with mentors. Part of SLI’s vision is to help students better themselves and the world.
Williamson sees his work as a way “to not only better prepare students for their post-college transition through a lens of personal leadership, but it’s also a way of better understanding what’s going on at the university through a definable project.”
The opportunities for students to engage available through SLI allow students to build skills that enhance their personal and professional lives. Williamson says that students gain creative thinking skills, leadership opportunities and tools to create positive solutions.
One of the most important skills, Williamson said, the center can help students learn is self-authorship, the ability to be the author of one’s on life.
“It takes a certain amount of know-how and awareness of your own inner-self, so that you can have the confidence to be the leader of your own life,” Williamson said.
To get involved with SLI, Williamson recommended building personal relationships with those working with the programs. “Knock on the door, send an email, talk to students who are here,” Williamson said.
As for what Williamson has in store for post-graduation, it includes an adventure in Europe, working as part of the crew for Journey of Hope, a philanthropic cross-country bike ride that Williamson rode last summer, and hopefully beginning law school in the fall.
More information about the opportunities available through SLI can be found at sli.oregonstate.edu.