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For some grads, it’s off to work

As graduation nears, many students are anticipating the excitement of a new chapter in their lives.

Caps and gowns, the diplomas, the graduation parties; all leading up to the simple act of leaving the place and people that have been home for the past four years.

Some are nervous, most are excited. But what happens when the adrenaline and champagne wear off? For some students the answer may be unclear. But for others, they are already making a dent in the universe.

Senior Jeremy Benoit is about to receive a diploma in sports administration and already has a solid job waiting for him as soon as he takes off his gown.

Benoit will be working as a football counselor at a prestigious athletic camp in Western Massachusetts. He found the job on the NCAA Job Market website, and after sending in his resume, he went through three Skype interviews and was eventually told that he would be perfect for the position.

“I am beyond excited for this job,” said Benoit. “It not only gives me a chance to build my network, but there is room to work my way up the administrative ladder.”

Although the economy has been harsh toward college grads over the past few years, Benoit was not worried at all, saying he knew that “his piece in life would fit somewhere into the grand puzzle.”

Ben Petrie is another senior majoring in sports administration, and yet his job prospects are leading him in a completely different direction than Benoit.

Petrie will be working as an outside sales associate for the Vermont Lake Monsters starting this spring. Petrie will be in charge of maximizing sales revenue while maintaining current contacts and building new sales.

“This is a chance to get my feet wet in this type of business,” said Petrie, who has been passionate about baseball his entire life.

Petrie is from Chittenden County and has been involved with the people and sports of the community for years.

“Being active in the community has helped me get this job. I know a lot of people and faces,” said Petrie, who walked into his first interview in January and realized he knew the people interviewing him.

“It’s about who you know and doing what you love. You have to work hard and do what you need to in order to be happy and successful. This is an opportunity for me to see if this is my calling.”

Caylee Fleury has found her calling. Having a double major in social work and sociology, she has several career options to choose from once she graduates.

Fleury has spent the year interning at the Park Street Program in Rutland, which is a branch of the Howard Center located in Burlington. As an intern, Fleury works with young boys who are emotionally and behaviorally disturbed. After her first semester as an intern, she proved to be so effective with the children that the program offered her a job as a residential counselor.

Fleury is also working as a part-time special educator at the Fay Honey Knopp Memorial School, and has the potential to work there after graduation as well.

“So no matter what,” Fleury said. “I have a job in social work and sociology when I graduate.”

However, many students across the country are not as confident or as lucky. According to a recent study done by USA Today, only 47 percent of graduating seniors get a job relating to their major directly after college, leaving the remaining graduates to navigate the waters of unemployment.

“It’s so hard to get a teaching job without years of experience,” said senior Emily Sweeney, who is majoring in Education and has been on the hunt for a job.

She is not the only one. A recent study done by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity found that nearly half of all American graduates were underemployed, holding relatively low-paying and low-skill required jobs. Of those graduates, roughly 37 percent had jobs that required nothing more than a high school diploma.

Although the availability for degree-related jobs is ultimately suffering, students here at Castleton still have hope that they will eventually get the job they want.

“I will have to work my way up,” said Sweeney. “But I will keep applying for teaching jobs because that’s my main goal and what I came to college for.”