Thriving in the Real World: Recent graduate Cody White

It’s no secret that the current job market has future Western graduates worried about the future of their careers. Recent WCU graduate, Cody White, was fortunate and was able to find a job utilizing his degree, although it was not an easy process.

White graduated from Western in the spring of 2009 with a Criminal Justice degree. Right after graduation, White began working for the Swain County Police Department as an investigator. White is still currently working as an investigator and also just received the position of a probation officer for Swain County.

While at Western, White was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and actively participated in intramural sports, which taught him the leadership and organizational skills that were essential to his success. White said that Dr. Duane Davis and Dr. Lisa Briggs were the two most influential and inspirational professors he had. He said their dedication and passion for criminal justice encouraged him to pursue his career and challenge himself.

When asked about ways that his experience and time at WCU has benefited him in his career, White said “C.J. professors at WCU focused less on theory and more on practical experience in the field. Also my involvement with Kappa Sigma fraternity provided me leadership opportunities and proof to my employers that I had the ability to take on and delegate numerous responsibilities at the same time.”

White encourages future graduates to be patient while looking for a job right out of college. He said that the hardest part of transitioning to the “real world” was being able to find a good job in the current poor state of our economy. White said, “When applying for a job I had the educational background, but not the experience that others had; while I was gaining a degree for four years, others were gaining experience.”

White added the best advice he could give to future graduates is to keep in mind that, “you will more than likely not get your dream job at first, but you must take small steps to move up the ladder.”

In the years to come, White intends to continue working in order to grow within his current career as well as return to school to continue his education with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice. He is adamant in the belief that in order to continue to be successful in his career, he must further both his education and real world experience.