With nearly 280,000 total graduate members worldwide, our alumni can provide an interesting perspective on life outside of college, and how their tenure as a member of Alpha Kappa Psi has impacted their future. This section will highlight our esteemed alumni, as they provide insight and advice on how to make the most of life before and after graduation.  


Anea Klix

October 19th, 2016

Omega Beta: What were the biggest challenges you faced before and/or after graduating and how did you deal with them?

Anea: "The biggest challenge I faced after graduation was finding a job in 2009. This was the height of the recession and finding a hiring company was tough. Before graduation, I was staying focused on coursework. Your junior and senior year at WWU are a ton of fun and it is best to enjoy it while you can!"

Omega Beta: What is one piece of advice you would give to your past (college) self?

Anea: "I would reiterate how important and integral internships would be for my future career. Internships were the key for me to networking to find jobs as well as getting the jobs I wanted. Employers really were impressed that I had more than one on my resume! I have worked in the advertising agency world for the past 7 years because of an unpaid internship, who then referred me to a job. And I know I'm only supposed to give one piece of advice, but I have one more: Do whatever you can to travel/explore the world/go on that study abroad program before you start a full-time job! I come across so many friends/coworkers who regret not doing that."

 

Meg Thompson

October 12th, 2016

Omega Beta: Tell us a little bit about yourself

Meg: "After graduating with my BA in Political Science from WWU, I moved to Seattle and joined an agency that works on all of Microsoft's social media. I landed as a social media project manager for Skype, and stayed there for about a year. I left my job there and moved to San Francisco for a scenery change, and joined a start-up as their social media manager. Three months later, I joined Google and became the social media strategist for Google Play Music."

Omega Beta: What were the biggest challenges you faced before and/or after graduating and how did you deal with them?

Meg: "Apologies for getting a little personal, but my biggest challenge to date is dealing with my anxiety disorder. In school, I felt like I needed to hide it from my peers and appear to put together—especially when I was on the OB executive board. I was afraid of being vulnerable and real, which lead me to fear people expected me to be on top of everything. This applies to everyone, even if they don't have a disorder. Be open with your brothers about your struggles. Be real with those around you, and ask for help when you need it. No one will be upset if you need help, but people will be upset if you drop the ball. Through my professional life, I learned to rely on my teammates and communicate what I could and couldn't handle. It's ultimately my responsibility to keep my work balanced and say no to things outside my ability. Important lesson that seems obvious, but is easily overlooked."

Omega Beta: What is one piece of advice you would give to your past (college) self?

Meg: "Chill out. Everything is going to be okay. If you're a slightly high-strung person like me, sit back and take time to enjoy life. Don't be constantly stressed about upcoming exams and homework. Get your work done, go out, and enjoy college life. Before you know it, you'll be graduated and missing Bellingham and your brothers dearly. In tandem with that, don't feel like you need to have everything figured out by age 21/22. Live, learn, make mistakes."

Stefani Kier

October 5th, 2016

Omega Beta: What are some of the most important things you have learned since graduating?

Stefani: "By the time you graduate, you are doing these extremely complex projects that require you to use a tremendous amount of what you learned during school. Entering the real world is like starting all over again from scratch, you rarely get the opportunity to take and apply all of these skills straight away. Be patient, and try to find an organization that will foster your excitement for learning and not stifle it. You won't usually know how to find an organization like this until you have learned what you don't like about your first few jobs. Failing is one of the best ways to learn, and handling the stress from failing can either cripple you, or make you stronger."


Erik Hykal

May 11th, 2016

Erik Hykal, Wolfpack Family

Erik Hykal, Wolfpack Family

Omega Beta: What were the biggest challenges you faced after graduating and how did you deal with them?

Erik: "Post graduation is a very exciting time but it really can be full of challenges. You feel pressure to get out there and get your first job and climb the corporate ladder the day you get your diploma. However, despite that rush to get hired, you want to make sure that wherever you land is the right fit for you. That was the biggest challenge I had to face. I was fortunate to have been offered a job at an advertising agency before I graduated so I felt like I had everything figured out; But a few months into a job, with 80 hour work weeks at a struggling company in another state, I soon learned that the first job offer you get might not always be the best. Since graduating in 2012 i have worked for 3 other companies (including Amazon) before finally working at my current position at a startup here in Seattle. It's really tempting to take the first offer that comes your way because you feel the pressure to just get a job and get out in the "real world", but sometimes the first (or second, or third) job you take might not be the right fit or you, and that's ok! With that, I have two pieces of advice:

1. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. It seems like everyone getting out of college is expecting to land their dream job day one, that's not always the case. Sometimes you have to try a few things out to figure out what your good at or what you enjoy doing. Try not to compare yourself to your friends or others graduating beside you, trust me when I say that everyone has their own share of challenges. Just keep working hard and be patient and things will come your way. 

2. Find a role and organization that fits you. In every job interview, it is just as (if not more) important for you to interview them and see if this position and company is right for you. Ask questions; find out what goes into your new role, what's their organizational culture like, etc. Every company wants happy employees, and neither of you benefit from you taking a job you wouldn't be happy in. I know it's appealing for everyone to want to work at a company like Amazon, but it can be a very grueling environment and their structure and work culture is not for everyone (myself included)." 

Omega Beta: What is one piece of advice you wish you knew when you started working for Amazon?

Erik: "Now regarding Amazon, it can be both an extremely difficult, and extremely rewarding place to work. I would say that it takes a certain personality type to truly thrive there. I worked there for a little under two years and even though I value the experience i gained, the super competitive corporate environment wasn't a great fit for me. However, I do have quite a few friends that have found a lot of success there and it suits them very well! Having said that, I would say the best advice I could give would be to be assertive and stand out. Offer to take on new tasks and jump on any opportunities for growth that come by (there will be many opportunities). Going the extra mile and taking on tasks outside of your scope of work can really get noticed. My second piece of advice is to find a mentor! Amazon gives you plenty of opportunities for peer mentoring and it can really beneficial! Identify someone in your department who is a high performer and reach out to them. Many are more than happy to share their knowledge and it's a great way to learn and move up quickly."


Justin Gazabat

May 4th, 2016 

Justin Gazabat, Gazabat Family

Justin Gazabat, Gazabat Family

Omega Beta: What is one thing you regret doing or not doing before graduating?

Justin: "I don't regret. I continue to reach and strive for all the same dreams I had. Time and again, looking back, the greatest things we got done were the things we fully committed to. SOTC for us was a HUGE event that NO ONE thought we could pull off and it was our best.  We could have done so much more - I was always pushing, but it’s hard in a volunteer organization to get people to show up and do awesome things if they don't believe they can - they can though! The commitment to get anything done comes from those that are most excited about the opportunity.  Just because not everyone is excited, well, that's ok, it only take a handful of people to change the world if they really want to. AKPsi is the perfect forum to go big and have the support system to get it done – what’s even better, if it doesn't work out, I bet it is still better than cutting yourself short and wishing you'd tried harder."

 

Omega Beta: What is one thing you wish you knew after graduating?

 Justin: "I heard a quote that said: 'It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.'  I'd say to heed that advice and never stop learning.  The most valuable and influential people continue to better themselves.  It will take persistent action on anyone's part to keep growing and to keep getting better.  What is comfortable now, will definitely become uncomfortable later - Just think. If you roll out of college making 80K a year, that's an awesome start, but when you have kids turn 45, do you think that same income will support you?  People misjudge what it will really take to 'Make it.' Your net worth is in your network. Work hard to selflessly build and foster awesome relationships with awesome people and your life will always be awesome." 

 

Omega Beta: "You spent some time traveling in Europe; do you have any advice on that? Were there certain locations you visited that you would recommend?"

Justin:  DO IT!!! Seriously, find a way through work or play, but find some time to get away.  By yourself or in a small group, and pack light - for a long time - like 10lbs for 3 months. There is this false mindset where you have to go to school get good grades then go work for some one else for 40 years, 40 hours+ a week and then try to scale back and retire with 40% of your income. Learn what it really takes to live the life you want – it’s about lifestyle design.  People always dream about a beach house or a lake house - why not just save up and rent one for 2 weeks to a month and find out if you like it enough to OWN one you may find it's less expensive to rent one once or twice a year than to pay that monthly mortgage... what lifestyle do you want.  If you dream about retiring on a Beach some where tropical - make your way to figure out how to get a solid Month on the beach of your dreams while your in your 20's and make the most of it- when are you going to enjoy it more? in your 20's or in your 60's?!?! Let time and the US dollar work to your benefit - get out to some of those spots where you're money goes a little further - Budapest was one of my favorites! You'd be amazed at what you can do there for literally PENNIES on the dollar!  Another great place was Prague & Morocco – These places are stunning, culturally diverse with Great food and very inexpensive.  When are you more likely to be comfortable sleeping in a Dorm with 10-20 other people? Probably when you are younger, and don't have the bandwidth to afford a private lavish hotel (but you can in some of these spots for next to nothing!) In Ireland, I got a nice B&B down the street from a hostel, and it cost less, was nicer, and breakfast was included.... not at the hostel... This stuff is what dreams and great stories are made of.  You HAVE to.


Kevin Trang

April 26th, 2016 

Kevin Trang, Hazard Family

Kevin Trang, Hazard Family

Omega Beta: What is one thing you think every student (at WWU) should do before they graduate?

Kevin: “Make a huge bucket list (try to make it as realistic as possible) and try to complete it with whatever time you have left in Bellingham.”

Omega Beta: What is one thing you regret doing or not doing before graduating?

Kevin: “Doing a study abroad since it’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity!”

 


Dan Aguiniga

April 19th, 2016

Dan Aguiniga, Scotch Family

Dan Aguiniga, Scotch Family

Omega Beta: What were your biggest challenges after graduating from Western?

Dan: "The biggest challenge was getting over the idea and anxiety that I had to have a job before walking out of my graduation ceremony. I know we all have bills to pay but we also need to take the time to chill out. I dealt with it terribly--I was doing a sloppy job applying to companies and it just made me look unqualified. It took a week for me to chill after school but when I did I got picked up immediately."

Omega Beta: What is one piece of advice you would give to a student trying to land a job at a big company?

Dan: "If you want a big brand company as your first job you definitely NEED internships. It doesn't seem like one summer [of interning] makes a difference but it does, there is no other way to believe a 21 year old is capable enough without proof on paper. Keep updating your resume and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!"


April Kristian

April 12th, 2016  

April Kristian, FeistY Family

April Kristian, FeistY Family

Omega Beta: What was one thing you wish you did before graduating? 

April: "I wish I had relaxed and taken more advantage of my 'down' time. Of course studying and getting good grades is very important, but while in school the amount of responsibilities you have is much less then after you graduate. If I could go back, I would take advantage of all of the time I was not focused on school."

Omega Beta: What is one piece of advice you wish you knew after graduating?

April: "It's your life, and you only live it once. You don't need to do what your parents, friends or society expects you to do. Sometimes the unconventional path in business and in your personal life is more rewarding."