Alumnus Jim Bagnoli ’75 remembers his entrance into the “real world” didn’t really hit him until his first day on the job. He had important responsibilities, and people and a company depending on him. Bagnoli says working a job is not like going to college.

“I was starting all over making new friends, establishing relationships, and building my reputation,” he said. “Along with a paycheck, there were bills and rent to pay. I had not been planning responsibly for my career and financial future.”

Looking back, Bagnoli wishes a college program or an event could have bestowed a little real life experience on him. This is why, as a member of the Butler Alumni Association Board, he was excited to partner with Butler’s Student Government Association’s Student Initiatives Board, the Young Alumni Board, and Butler’s Academic Affairs staff to offer Butler juniors and seniors a taste of the real world through an event called The Game of Life.

The event, which was loosely based off of the popular board game, Life, had students enter the room with a chosen profession after they graduated. They were then given a salary. Students moved from table to table where they dealt with a variety of circumstances, like the price of life insurance, eating out, student loan programs, and at Bagnoli’s table, the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in various parts of the country. 

“It was really interesting to watch their expression,” Bagnoli said, laughing. One student, Logan Schwering ’18, commented most students, including himself, were surprised to discover how the average cost of all the expenses students have after graduation slowly chip away at a salary. 

“Seeing how it all came together and started chipping away from your salary was eye-opening,” Schwering said.

Although the program, and the actual Life board game, don’t exactly mirror the real world, both incorporated a few hysterical similarities. 

“It was just a good, thought-provoking experience for students to realize they’ll have to put a budget together, and make lifestyle changes,” Bagnoli explained.

After going through the life tables, students attended a panel discussion with Bagnoli and four other alumni. Later on, students were able to ask questions and mingle with alumni, allowing them to “learn from one another,” Bagnoli said. 

“To have alumni who are so dedicated to giving back not only financially, but with their wealth of knowledge, is what sets  Butler apart from other institutions,” Schwering said. 

Schwering elaborated that he felt extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with alumni with varying skillsets and life experiences. He urges future students to take advantage of programs about life after graduation, adding “graduation may seem far away, but the years go by quickly.”