There are many first time college students who have entered into college during this pandemic and who will need to definitely maximize their first year in college to the best of their ability and I think “The Transition Guide & Journal: A Simple Tool for Students to Help Maximize the College Experience” Third Edition will be of excellent assistance in doing just that, as well as being of service to other college students and parents of college students who may need help or tools to continue to maximize the college experience even after freshman year.
Blake Simon is the author of “The Transition Guide & Journal: A Simple Tool for Students to Help Maximize the College Experience” Third Edition that includes topics such as building relationships and networking, understanding financial aid, maximizing campus resources and much more. Blake is also a nationwide motivational speaker, mentor and College “Transition” Expert. Check out below why we chose to include Blake Simon as our latest , Hustler With A Purpose.
You are the author of a book called, “The Transition Guide & Journal: A Simple Tool for Students to Help Maximize the College Experience”. Tell us about the moment you decided that you wanted to create this much needed guide for college students.
I began my career in Higher Education as a Financial Aid Counselor. During that time, I noticed the GAP and a NEED for students and families to be educated on how to maximize the first-year college experience and beyond. I became very passionate about the issue and didn’t feel like I was walking in my purpose. As a result, I resigned and created my own platform called “The Transition” which began with motivational talks that I still refer to as the “5 Foundation Keys” focusing on having a Why, Positive Affirmations, Goal Setting, Preparation, and Trusting the Process. At the same time, I had a goal to write a book but the idea was for it to be a first quarter of life autobiography. I have some interesting life stories which is part is the reason students connect with me the way they do. However, when I linked up with a business coach, he opened my eyes to creating products and services. As I previously mentioned, I resigned from my job, so I shifted my focus and started doing business in addition to my volunteer efforts. It made more sense to create a student guidebook for my target audience rather than focusing on an autobiography. The first edition of The Transition Guide & Journal was released in August of 2016. I am currently on the 3rd edition!
You are not only an author but you have also chosen to become a mentor as well as go out and speak to college students across the nation. Why was it important for you to not just provide students with your guide but to also speak to groups of students in person about the importance of maximizing their college experience?
As previously mentioned, my platform began with speaking. I love speaking, presenting, and teaching! The book is a tool, but It is important for me to verbalize my message with students because it allows me to connect on a more personable level!
If you could only give one piece of information to a first-year college student from your book, what would it be?
That’s tough! Just 1 thing?!? Well, the book is divided into three sections. The Foundation Plan, The Academic Plan, and The Financial Plan. If I could give only one piece of information to a first-year college student from the book, I would refer them to section one… The Foundation Plan which encompasses the previously mentioned “5 Foundation Keys” Without a solid foundation the house will crumble.
I always see on Social Media how you make it a point to let college students know the importance of financial aid. Why is it important for students to take advantage of financial aid even if they may have other means of paying for college?
As a former Financial Aid Counselor, I was blessed with the opportunity to learn the importance of understanding financial aid and college cost. There are 4 types of financial aid. Grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans. So, a student receiving a scholarship is receiving financial aid. To be considered for federal grants, work-study, and loans students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which helps determine eligibility. Like scholarships, grants and work-study don’t have to be paid back. Who doesn’t want free money?
At the minimum, I would encourage all college bound and current college students to complete the FAFSA to determine eligibility for financial aid that does not have to be paid back such as the federal grant. Loans will be offered but should be the absolute last option!
There are so many college students that go to college because they think that it’s what their family wants them to do or what all of their friends are doing, but why is it important for college students to make sure that they know their own WHY and their own PURPOSE for going to college?
It is very important for an individual to operate in their own PURPOSE and always know their WHY! College is not FREE, and you don’t want to waste time or money. As I allude to in The Transition Guide & Journal 3rd edition, I would first advise any student to explore their life/career interests. Once you identify your interest, explore different careers options and the qualifications. What is the required education? What is the job outlook, required experience, and salary? Take advantage of experiential learning opportunities such as volunteering, co-ops, and internships for experience and to help determine if that career will fit! If interested in entrepreneurship, apply the same tactics. Figure what you want to do based on interest. Explore if it’s for you. Then figure out what it takes to make it happen and make it happen! Nevertheless, operate in your own purpose as you make your Transition!
We have discussed the importance of how young men and women should maximize their college years, but is there anything that parents can do to help their first-time college students be more prepared for their freshmen year?
Yes! Plan, prepare, and pay… ATTENTION to the best of your ability!! Life can move fast, but the preparation starts well before freshman year in college. Financial planning is always important. The reality is every family is not in the position to save for college and if a family is able, that is a plus. But when I say pay attention, I am referring to the interest, talents, and abilities. If the family can identify those things and cater to them, I believe that will put the student on track for success. The earlier, the better.
Let’s talk a bit about the transition of in person speaking engagements to now having to mentor, assist and teach students virtually. Has this been a challenge or do you feel that you are still able to positively affect and motivate the students even more?
I would prefer to make an impact in person. In my opinion, there is nothing that can match the authenticity of face to face interaction. However, I immediately took the challenge to match that impact through virtual interactions which has worked out for me. There are advantages and disadvantages to, but the key is to adjust. I encourage all students, families, and professionals to take the challenge!
I think it is excellent how you are choosing to walk in your purpose every day by utilizing your passion and gifts, providing tools and knowledge to college students through your informative and actionable guide “The Transition Guide & Journal: A Simple Tool for Students to Help Maximize the College Experience”, as well as being of service to students through your motivational speaking engagements and mentorship.
Blake you are definitely a Hustler With A Purpose! What is your inspirational message that you would like to leave with our readers to help them continue to be their best and do their best while being on their journey of pursuing their purpose?
I would like to leave your readers with two quotes to help them continue to be their best while making the Transition. The first is a quote from myself. “If you act on your passion, you will walk into your Purpose”. The second quote comes from an old professor of mine, Dr. White who said, “I would say good Luck, but Luck is when Preparation meets Opportunity and I know that you all are Prepared”! Stay PREPARED!!
Be sure to follow @blakemotivates on IG and to grab your copy of “The Transition Guide & Journal: A Simple Tool for Students to Help Maximize the College Experience” Third Edition today!