On May 13, 2017, Castleton seniors will be under the pavilion receiving their diplomas from President Dave Wolk whether they’re ready to move on from the warm embrace of their home at Castleton University or not.
Even if they don’t want to leave, seniors seem to have plans laid out for the future for the most part.
In 2015 only 20 percent of Castleton seniors who took the exit survey had jobs at the time of graduation.
In 2016, 57 percent of Castleton seniors had jobs at the time of graduation and 74 percent of the class took the exit survey.
Eighty percent of those with jobs were in their field at the time of graduation.
Renée Beaupré White, director of career services, doesn’t know why the jump occurred but thinks the Class of 2017 is about normal for a graduating class.
“Many have jobs and quite a few students have applications out. Some are planning to take gap time; others have gotten into graduate programs or are waiting to hear back from graduate programs. It’s pretty typical,” she said.
Some of the students with jobs that she mentioned include Daniel Warnecke, who will be working for the Lake Bomoseen Lodge; Jennifer McGuorick, who will be in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York; Bowen Lord, who will be working for the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden, Vermont, and Alexander Denton who will be working for Spring Lake Ranch.
Another student heading right into the work force is Emma Blaiklock who is going to be an area coordinator at Clarkson University in upstate New York.
“I was feeling terrified. I’ve been in school for 16 or so years of my life and spent four of them here. I feel like I’ve just found my niche here in the last year and a half and felt like things were starting to work out here…I’m not feeling hopeless anymore,” Blaiklock said.
Much of her experience for her job after graduation has come from her time as a senior community advisor at Castleton. She did her internship with Residence Life after realizing she didn’t want to do something with the Department of Children and Families or any other typical social work internship.
Blaiklock feels a similar feeling at Clarkson that she has felt at Castleton for the past four years.
“I’ve felt a connection here since accepted students day and when I got to Clarkson I felt the same way. Even though it’s two times the size it felt like the people there were supportive,” she said.
Another social work major from the senior class is heading right into her field.
Shannon Halnon knew she needed to take a year off before starting her master’s so she started applying for jobs.
“Around February break I started applying to all the open jobs and I finally received a job this month. I will be working in the social work field as a community resource advocate at a health network in New York,” Halnon said.
Social work majors aren’t the only students getting jobs though.
Communication majors are holding their own as well when it comes to getting jobs lined up for after graduation.
Alex Brownell was offered a full-time job because of her internship with PEGTV.
“I will be working with Access which is their weekly news magazine. I’m actually feeling very excited and I think that’s just because I have a plan. I know if I didn’t know what I was doing I would be very nervous and unsure but since I know what I’m doing and doing what I love I’m very excited and just enjoying my last few weeks,” she said.
Some seniors wish they could drag out those last few weeks as much as possible even if they have plans.
Catherine Twing interned at a paper called the Berkshire Record in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which is where she is from, and she’s waiting to hear back on a job with them.
She’s not quite ready to leave Castleton though.
“It’s really weird mixed feelings because I’m so excited and there are things that are happening here that are not my problem any more and I can’t wait to be out and then there are other moments like this, realizing it’s my last issue of The Spartan and it’s really hard and the people that I see every day and every week that I’m not going to see anymore. That’s the weird thing. It’s the place that I’ve called home for so long and it’s not going to be home anymore,” Twing said.
She wasn’t far off from other students who are getting ready to leave Castleton.
Brownell credits the school with helping her find what she wants to do in life.
“Castleton has shaped me in the best way because I found what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be while I was here. I went into Castleton and graduated as a completely different person and I truly thank Castleton and my professors for helping me along the way,” Brownell said.
Blaiklock also gave props to the faculty and staff at Castleton for challenging and supporting her and pushing her to do more so she could teach herself to push harder too.
Halnon said her internship and the leadership that she’s learned at Castleton have made her the person she is and helped her in finding her career and even feeling ready to leave Castleton, but she was nervous about graduation not long ago.
“A month ago if you had asked me how I felt about graduating I would have been stressed and not had a clue, but now that I have a job set in place I’m excited and looking forward to starting a new chapter,” she said.
Not all students have jobs, but they’re not as willing to talk about the future as students with jobs lined up.
Beaupré White has advice for those who are nervous to step out into the “real world.”
“Be proactive. Be persistent. Reach out to Career Services at any time. We help alum and current students. Finding a job is a job,” she advised.