By Erin Spence
May is a month of transition from spring to summer, and for many college seniors, the transition from a lifetime of education to the job world. They will leave behind the constant parties, homework, and the ease of living within minutes of their closest friends. The real question is: what’s next?
Some seniors feel extreme stress about being jobless at this point in the semester, while others believe that everything will work out. Michael Burt, a senior at St. Michael’s college, majoring in business, is a strong believer of the latter. “I wouldn’t say I really have any fears for post-graduation. I know that not having a job on the day after graduation isn’t the end of the world. I’ve got plenty of time and I know that everything works out in the end.” Michael is going to go home after graduation and continue applying for jobs over the summer.
Tristan McInnis, also a senior and business major at the college, has a similar outlook. He feels ready to graduate, and is confident that when he does get a job, the transition from college life to working life will be smooth. “As I’ve gotten older throughout school, the school work changes, and it’s more geared to what you might expect in the work environment, and I know I’ll be able to adapt.”
Clara Lopez Costa, a senior from Spain, double majoring in business and economics has a much different view regarding the job process. Costa was proactive with her job search, and began the process in September. Although she felt stress about the process, as an international student, she would have to secure a job in the US in order to stay here after graduation.
“It’s been really hard for me to find a job that accepts the fact that I’m foreign. I started to get really stressed when I wasn’t getting jobs, knowing I would have to leave the US,” said Costa. She wanted to stay in this country to build her resume and to take advantage of what may be her last opportunity to work in the US.
By the time February rolled around, and she hadn’t secured anything, Costa began to lose hope. She struggled to find connections, and even just to find the time to sit down and apply.
This led her to make a big decision. “I have given up, and decided that I will go back to Spain,” Costa said.
“It’s not uncommon for individuals to view the process in different ways,” said Ingrid Peterson, director of Career Education at the college, who said that all seniors approach the job process differently.
Still, Peterson has advice. “Sometimes we see people not paying enough attention to the industry that they want to go in to and making sure that their resume and cover letter match that industry. I tell people all the time to do their homework and know their audience,” Peterson said.
Peterson also emphasized that although the job application process is a huge part of finishing college, it is important to keep perspective. “If you don’t graduate successfully because you’re so focused on your job search that you don’t get your work done, then finding a job won’t mean anything. You need to take care of the obligations you have academically, and then work on the job search,” Peterson said.
These three seniors know that it is important to enjoy their time in their last year of college, and found hope assuming that everything will work out in the end. When I asked Tristan a piece of lasting advice for seniors coming to terms with graduation, he said, “treat every day like it’s your last, and have as much fun as you can.”