By: Manell Queen Aquino

At some point in our lives, we might have felt the first day jitters during the first day of classes in school. Only this time, it is not school or university that we have to prepare for, but the real world; a world full of challenges, obstacles and uncertainties. The transition to adulting will always be scary and full of surprises. While many of us are accustomed to convenience, familiarity and ease, there will come a point when we have to move to the next stages of our lives and adapt to various challenges that might take place.

Initial transition usually happens after graduation day. For most of our lives, we were exposed to academic institutions, developmental education and patterned learning. After graduation, people are generally expected to search for jobs, build their careers, following their interests and passion. However, not everyone is equipped to be able to figure everything out immediately. A lot of people often get sidetracked when faced with crucial decisions such as the next steps, or probable career path.

In order to successfully adapt and transition to the real world, there should be in-depth knowledge and understanding of how the real world works and how certain things function. Junior Achievement of the Philippines, Inc. (JA PH) offers a wide range of events, activities and programs that will give students a primer of the necessary skills and knowledge they need as future professionals and entrepreneurs. One particular event that offers tips and techniques on career development and advancement is EDGE. With the limitless demands of changing times, there is always a need to adapt and conform, in order to go with the flow and keep up. EDGE is a 2-3 day summit where students will be exposed to industry experts and established professionals who will share their insights, experiences and learning processes while imparting knowledge about opportunities, plans and career growth. This summit is not only limited to students. It is also open for professionals and practitioners who aspire to know more about the industry trends, opportunities and advantages and skill sets needed to be the top player in their desired careers or professions. EDGE has been up and running for 2 years now. EDGE 2021, with the hashtag #OwnTheEDGE, was attended by 33 schools, while EDGE 2022, with the hashtag #BuildingYourEDGE was attended by 34 schools..

Activities for each day include presentations and messages from European and US representatives, networking, activities and games, workshops such as resume building, mock interview, workplace readiness and financial literacy, booths, talks, Q&A portions and even messages from keynote speakers, widely acclaimed personalities who advocate for youth empowerment and education. Through these activities and interactions with foreign professionals, EDGE aims to provide participants a bigger perspective, a global outlook on how they can be successful in their chosen and respective career paths.

Forging your own career path starts with purpose and vision. As mentioned by Ms. Bianca Gonzales, television host and model and EDGE 2021’s keynote speaker, “It’s your why, it’s your purpose that will keep you going even on days when you don’t feel motivated. Purpose is so important because we always work harder and persevere more when we know that there is a bigger goal in mind, that there is a purpose larger than ourselves.” JA PH also offers programs such as Careers with a Purpose! which aims to help students know more about themselves and have a clearer view of their purpose and values to help them land their dream jobs.

EDGE paves the way for students and professionals to interact and share ideas and suggestions. Interactive breakout sessions, workshops and activities simulate real-life situations and develop a sense of reality as to what students must expect after graduation. Panel discussions will also be available where speakers will be sharing personal experiences and learning opportunities that might be useful for students in their chosen career paths. The audience will also be given the opportunity to ask their questions through the Q&A portion. Panel discussions are generally helpful for the audience to get to know the guest speakers personally and to know more about the career paths they took upon graduation. For EDGE 2021, JA PH invited three panellists. First panellist is Cat Triviño, a well-known host and mental health advocate. The second panellist is the Chief Development Officer of JA Asia-Pacific, Mr. Kirk Kenny. The last panellist is former Miss. World, actress, TV, events and podcast host, Ms. Megan Young. Together with Ms. Megan Young is actor, TV, events and podcast host and entrepreneur Mr. Mikael Diaz. They gave their thoughts and insights about topics ranging from financial literacy, career aspirations and adulting life. There is value in learning more about ourselves and other people. Like what Mr. Mikael Diaz said during the event, “We learn from experience, we learn from curiosity, we learn from trial and error and in many failures and successes.”

“What lies after college has always been a blurry part for most students; me being one of them. Students are not really 100% trained and prepared on the non-academic part of adulting, which is why I found EDGE really helpful in this department. Resume building, mock interviews, career planning and personal finance are key life-skills in adulting that are not really tackled much in university. I am thankful for EDGE because through their 2-Day event, I was able to familiarize myself with these concepts and prepared myself to be better prepared for my future after graduation.” – Gheena Rhae Katipunan (Marketing Management Student from the University of Santo Tomas).

Not a lot of students are given the opportunity to plan ahead and learn about what is in store for them after graduation. Programs like EDGE give students a distinct edge; a jumpstart to adulting and the careers they want to pursue in the future. It also gives students and participants the necessary skills not just to successfully survive the hurdles of the professional world but also to be responsible citizens of the country by contributing their skills to the society and playing important roles in nation-building. Having the skills, capabilities and qualifications relevant to different career aspirations are important and necessary, especially today when there are lots of prospects and competition in the playing field. A cutting edge advantage will surely give you the skill sets needed and the confidence required in the professional world.