Suffield’s College Counseling and Alumni & Development Offices hosted the final college-to-career virtual discussion of the 2022–2023 year on May 18. The program invites alums to speak with current students about their careers, college major choices, and experiences at Suffield. As part of the junior-year Leadership Program curriculum, the goal is to expose students to life beyond Suffield and provide guidance from alumni working in various fields.
Jermaine Frazer-Phillips ’14 graduated from Suffield Academy in 2014 and then moved on to Ohio Wesleyan University. Jermaine graduated from Ohio Wesleyan with a degree in International Studies in 2018. He runs a coffee company he created called Big Up Brew, where Jermaine manages all aspects of the business from product development to marketing to distribution. He is passionate about creating value for customers and partners and enjoys collaborating with diverse and talented teams. Outside of Big Up Brew, Jermaine serves on the Board at Forge City Works. They provide job training and food access through sustained social enterprises, empowering people to improve their lives.
Jermaine talked to the juniors about how it can take a while to really know what you want to do in college (and after). He said, “Where you are at right now as juniors about to be seniors, don’t feel like you need to figure it out by any means. Use me as an example: I’ve worked many places and I’m just now figuring it out.” He spoke about his experience at Ohio Wesleyan, a small liberal arts school, about the classes that he liked best (his international studies classes) and the ones he did not enjoy (like astronomy, which was very different from what he had been expecting). Most importantly, he reiterated that you have to do many different things to figure out what makes you happy. He said, “Sometimes it’s just about trying as much as possible to figure out what you like and having the patience with yourself to know, ‘Hey, I don’t need to have my life figured out by the time I’m a freshman in college, or a junior at Suffield.’”
Juniors preparing for the college application process are heavily supported by Suffield’s college counselors and alumni mentors. While their college choice is an important decision in their lives, the mentoring sessions provide insight into many unanswered questions. It is made very clear that communication is a key to success and there is more than one way to accomplish a rewarding future.