Commencement is a word used to describe a ceremony ending a student’s college career – but also means beginning. Some Castleton State College students see it as the beginning of an adventure, others the beginning of uncertainty.
“I don’t like not knowing,” said 23-year-old senior Vanessa Lamar, saying she’ll miss her comfortable college routine.
Lamar is not alone. Many seniors share her fear.
Richard Swenson said he’s ready to leave Castleton, but he fears that what he has envisioned for his future won’t happen.
“I know what I want to do, but not what I will end up doing,” he said.
Swenson said he hasn’t let senioritis get to him because he may go to graduate school and wants to finish with a good GPA.
“It’s like it’s not real right now,” said senior Chelsea Robitaille, 22, who was then asked if she’s scared to graduate. “I probably will be when I get my student loan bill.”
Although Robitaille has no license, no car and no job lined up, she said she’s not worried about graduating and doesn’t feel she’ll miss college like other graduates and family say she will.
She just shrugged her shoulders and said once she gets her diploma she will “probably freak out.”
“Most seniors who are getting this close freak out a bit,” said senior Michael LeBlanc, who then admits he has yet to prepare his resume. “It will be done by the end of the week – hopefully.”
Lamar plans to return home and work as much as possible to make enough money to begin massage therapy school.
“Money and work is all I can think about,” she said.
But while some seniors are worried about resumes and money for loans, others are concerned about just graduating.
“I think I’m graduating,” said Eric Blair laughing and explaining how he is just squeaking by in his botany class.
Blair wants to just pass the class to graduate and is not worried about his GPA because he doesn’t plan on going to grad school.
“More than anything I just feel old,” said Blair continued, pointing out the five year difference between him and freshman students.
Blair isn’t the only one noticing the age gap.
“I have bigger underwear than that,” Robitaille said of the short skirts passing freshman girls were wearing. “You’re in college to expand your mind not show off your body. I think they’re missing that.”
Where will C.S.C. take me?
Robitaille’s eyes got really big when asked where she’ll be in 10 years.
“I’ll be 32,” she said, then laughs.
She hopes to have a law degree and be married — but without kids.
“Not unless he wants to be Mr. Mom,” she said.
Blair is uncertain of where he’ll be in 10 years, but he hopes at some point to continue with school, taking the classes to satisfy his interests that he did not have time to take here due to course requirements.
“I can’t see past next week. Too many things going on,” LeBlanc said, when asked.
He’s not alone. Many seniors are so busy cramming in papers and studying for finals, there is little time to get a resume finalized.
Judith Carruthers, director of Career Development, tells students not to panic. “Write down the last time worry worked,” she said after throwing her hands in the air and saying “the real world-ahhhhh,” imitating a panicking senior.
Carruthers had just received back-to-back calls from seniors trying to get appointments to see her. She said two weeks before graduation is one of the busiest weeks with nervous seniors looking for help. But for those with little time to talk to her about a resume Carruthers said, “Chill-out, relax. I’m here after commencement.”
Realization hits, then come the jobs
Two weeks after graduation Carruthers is very busy again. She explained how seniors go home, have time to relax and then realize they need to do something about a job. She said most seniors return home after graduation for six months to a year.
Her statement was confirmed by the seniors interviewed, all were returning home for the summer because they do not have career jobs lined up.
Blair said he would like to see more help for seniors with job searching and job placement because he has had difficulty locating a job in Vermont for film production.
Carruthers said that Castleton does not do job placement like a technical college, but she said 60 percent of students who do internships while in college get hired by that company.
Carruthers wishes all majors here were required to have internships to graduate. She also said that about 87 percent of graduates have a full-time job within six months of graduating.
Carruthers mentioned the career fair as a tool to help find jobs, but recalled how many students felt there were few booths at the fair that had anything for their major. She urges students to open their minds and realize that the companies at the career fair had jobs for each major.
“I’m not going to settle for anything less,” Blair said explaining how he wants to find a job that he wants to do and not just any job.
“If it is for you it won’t go by you,” Carruthers said of students looking for the right job. She feels as if students are under pressure from parents to find a job within their major right out of college and she encourages students to “just get a job, not the job.”
Some students say that Castleton did not fully prepare them for the real world and train them for that special job they are searching for, but in the next breath praised the efforts of some professors. Robitaille talked about how communications professor Sanjukta Ghosh contributed to her education and how much she helps her students outside of class.
Swenson agreed, saying some classes he took were too easy and he learned little from them.
LeBlac is not sure CSC has prepared him for life in the real world, but he’s glad to be graduating.
“I wouldn’t want my last semester to be without Bob,” LeBlac said about professor Gershon, who will be on sabbatical next year.