Landon Oakes, ’14, Glendale Preparatory Academy

Landon Oakes ’14 came to Calvin with a plan: major in philosophy, go to graduate school in philosophy, and become a philosophy professor. However, enrolling in Latin and Greek courses prompted Landon to rethink his plan. By his senior year, he had declared a second major in classical languages and decided to become a Latin and Greek teacher rather than immediately going to graduate school.

Making adjustments to what he thought was a firm career plan taught Landon that it is important for college students to plan ahead, but also to be flexible with those plans.

“Resist the urge to plan your entire life while in college,” Landon advises. “Circumstances will change, and probably even your views on what a desirable future would be like. If you identify too closely with your present plans and ambitions, you might find it very hard when it comes time to change them. At least this was the case for me.”

In the midst of adapting his future plans, Landon sought help from Lydia Frens, a career counselor in the Career Development office. Lydia took the time to critique Landon’s cover letter and resume, provide a practice interview, help alleviate his worries, and answer his questions throughout the process.

“Lydia was a huge part of my successful job search,” Landon says. He recommends that other seniors take advantage of the Career Development office as well: “Talk to a career counselor, get your resume critiqued, have a mock interview, and ask all the questions you can think of. It's free; there is no way you will regret it, and more than likely you'll be happy that you did.”

Landon’s job search efforts culminated in receiving an offer to teach classics at Glendale Preparatory Academy in Arizona. Starting this fall, Landon will teach four classes a day to high school students: three sections of 3rd year Latin and one section of 1st year Ancient Greek. He will also have an extra-curricular responsibility in the morning or after school, such as supervising a student club or providing tutoring.

“I'm looking forward to learning a useful trade and doing as well as I can at it,” says Landon. “I am also looking forward to meeting my colleagues and students this fall. From all indicators, Glendale Prep is going to be a fantastic environment for a young teacher such as myself.”

Written by Meredith Segur, posted July 2014