The gowns are purchased.
The tickets are claimed.
The smell of finals is in the air.
Castleton seniors can smell the freedom that only their diploma can give them. Their undergraduate degree will soon be finished, but for some, that’s a scary thought. The year is winding down, and now students are forced to decide what to do with their lives.
Castleton offers many services to seniors to help them prepare including mock interviews, meetings with alumni in their field, local and national internships and much more.
“It’s bittersweet, which is so cliché, but there are points where I think I’m so ready to leave and excited for change and other times I realize everything about college that I’m going to miss. But I’ve had my time and now it’s time to move on to the next big thing,” said Sarah Bergstrom, who is continuing her education to get her master’s at the University of New Hampshire in the fall.
But perhaps Bergstrom feels more prepared to take on the world than some because she is going to grad school. Going to grad school is almost delaying the inevitable.
Graduates not going to grad school now face all the financial burdens, all the stress and the unknown abyss of life after school.
Renee Beaupre White, the director of career development at Castleton believes the school does everything they can to prepare students for life after school.
“We have many things available, but in the end it’s up to the student. They need to take ownership of their own career,” Beaupre White said.
Senior Colleen Jenkins is not as sure-footed as Bergstrom looking ahead.
“I think that Castleton has definitely prepared me for the real world. I’m confident in my skills and abilities thanks to all my professors. But I don’t think anyone feels truly ready for life after college. It’s scary!” Jenkins said.
Of course, everyone is worried about money after college, but some are worried more than others. Being prepared to take on the debts from student loans and the incoming monthly bills that come with being an adult is a stressful thought. Jess Galatioto knows this feeling well.
“I feel that I can take it on, but as far as money goes no way. No matter how much you work, if you want to be involved in the college you’re not going to have enough money in the end, especially out of state,” Galatioto said.
Galatioto played field hockey for Castleton for four years, was an orientation leader, was involved in many clubs, and feels that her experiences at Castleton were worth the extra financial stress.
“I met awesome people, was given awesome opportunities and made awesome memories,” Galatioto said.
Beaupre White was not surprised that most seniors surveyed felt ready for their post-graduation plans.
“I’m delighted that they feel prepared. I see a lot of students and help them with anything I can. I’m not surprised. That’s great news for us,” said Beaupre White “The most important thing is just for seniors not to be afraid of what lies ahead.”
There are some graduates who have a solid plan, and some who are working on a plan. Meghan O’Sullivan is the latter.
When asked her plans for next year, she responded, “Oh, maybe I don’t want to play this game anymore.”
“I feel prepared, I just don’t know what I want to do in this ‘real world’,” O’Sullivan said.
Josh Budzinski is on the other end of the spectrum.
Budzinski will be moving to Missouri to continue his education at Logan University, where he hopes to earn his doctorate of chiropractic medicine.
“I wouldn’t say I am taking on the real world yet. It is more intense schooling by far so I guess that counts. The short answer is yes I feel pretty confident to take on what’s next,” Budzinski said.
In the end, all five seniors answered the same to the final question. Was Castleton the right choice for you?
“Yes of course!” Bergstrom said.
“Of course! I’ve never regretted my decision to come here, ever.” Jenkins said.
“Castleton is a special place,” Galatioto said.
“Castleton is where I was able to grow into the person that I will be in the “real world” and I couldn’t be more thankful for that!” O’Sullivan said.
“Yes! I don’t think I could have chosen better,” Budzinski said.
No one can be fully prepared for what lies ahead, but these students say Castleton does a pretty good job of helping students to do the best they can for their own futures.