Brandon Eckerman is nostalgic about his time at Wichita State University and is disappointed he’s unable to celebrate graduation in the traditional sense. But he’s eager to start a career in medical device sales.
Brandon is one of more than 2,400 students eligible for spring 2020 graduation. Learn more about his time at Wichita State and what is next for the grad.
What is your degree in?
My degree is Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering with a minor in personal selling.
What led you to WSU?
I first wanted to come to Wichita State because of the presence of our biomedical engineering program, numerous financial opportunities, and being in the city I enjoyed growing up in. In time though, I realized I felt very comfortable here at WSU, which gave me the confidence to push myself and get involved in ways that I don’t think I could have anywhere else. From people in admissions to the College of Engineering, I was made to feel welcome and encouraged to go above and beyond.
How are you feeling leading up to graduation?
To be honest, I’m a bit nervous and sad leading up to graduation. In the fall, I had joked that it would be impressive if I made it to that graduation stage with only a few minor sad times, being nostalgic and all, but that is an understatement. I wish I were more excited, but I am pumped to get the next stage of life going. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a bit upset by missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime changing of the seasons as it were. I’m happy the university is putting together some special events for us, but I’m not sure there’s truly any replacement for wearing that cap and gown right after finishing classes and saying goodbye to the many friends and memories that WSU holds. Champagne in October just isn’t as tasty.
What are your career plans?
Career-wise, I hope to get a job in Wichita so I can stay close to the city that I have enjoyed for many years. I have been applying to medical device companies in town and will hopefully work as some form of account representative once this pandemic blows over.
How has the COVID-19 crisis altered those plans, if at all?
COVID-19 has sure altered the job search and networking that I was working on before it all hit. I previously was trying to meet and talk with several local professionals in areas close to where I want to be, but now meeting people in person is off the table. The stress and uncertainty have made it harder to contact professionals. It’s a bit tougher to be focusing on starting a career when a lot of folks are just trying to get by.
What advice do you have for other students on how to cope with the uncertainty of these times?
Personal advice is hard to give, as I’m right there with those struggling. One note perhaps would be to forgive yourself if you’re struggling to find the same level of motivation or productivity as you had before. I have suddenly found myself with an abundance of time, but it can often be hard to really use that time in a meaningful way with the background stress of the world creeping in. Find an activity or hobby that brings some level of fulfilment and joy, and don’t forget to step outside once in a while for some sun!
What has been your most helpful learning experience while a student at WSU?
Thinking about helpful learning experiences — my time doing research with the university and service as the president of the Student Ambassador Society. — would definitely stand out. Through research I was able to see how incredibly interesting, challenging and rewarding novel work is like, especially when it’s not some homework assignment. My time in organizational leadership has taught me how to adapt and handle the many different situations that can pop up when helping serve large groups of passionate people — a skill I do not think I could have gotten anywhere else.
What has been your biggest challenge as a student, and how did you overcome it?
A big challenge I see many students face as they near graduation is becoming jaded and checked out — now more than ever. You see and experience so much in your time at college it can be hard to remember the exciting and important reasons we’re here. I would like to think I’ve done a good job staying positive, remembering the things I’m passionate about and not taking myself too seriously.