Senior year of college is what students wait for all their lives. It’s what makes it all worth it, finally reaching that finish line.
But the thing nobody ever told you is that after graduation, it’s the beginning of the next race and you’ll spend the rest of your life chasing that finish line.
It’s no secret that students breeze through high school and the first two years of college thinking there is no expiration date on their youth. Then, in what seems like a blink of an eye, they are seniors and it’s almost time to start a career.
“I have no clue what I’m going to do. I am nervous for what is in store for me after graduation. I wish I had figured out what I was passionate about in my freshman or sophomore year so I could have been more focused on a career to strive for,” said senior Kayla Ploof.
Ploof seemed disappointed that she may have been shorted certain opportunities by not reaching out for help to find a field she really wanted to go into. She suggests taking a wide array of classes freshman year to help determine your interests.
To those students having trouble finding a path, Renee Beaupre White, director of Career Services, would love to help you. Beaupre White works with students in all areas from changing major and finding an internship to building a resume or even just offering some career advice.
“What I do is, I counsel students. Instead of putting all their energy into their fear, I put it into what can they do instead of being afraid of making a nest in the world. So then I get them thinking about a next step,” she said.
Beaupre White is constantly stressing to take the college experience seriously.
“Treat it like your first job. Show up, do your assignments, and all you can in your field to build your resume, because when it’s your second semester of senior year, that’s all you have,” she said.
Beaupre White also mentioned that in today’s workplace, you have 20 to 30 seconds to shine on your resume before it gets tossed in a pile with a million other average applicants. So, be as community involved as your schedule permits and meet as many people as you can because studies show that 80 percent of jobs are found through connections and networking, she said.
But she stresses it is ok not having a set plan. A Penn State study shows that 20 to 50 percent of students enter college as “undecided” and 75 percent change their major at least once through out their college career.
“Seventy-seven percent of graduates who worked part-time, did an internship, or employee mentorships, felt prepared for the working world after graduation,” said author Susan Adams in a Forbes article.
Senior Haley Cotrupi has done just that. She had multiple internships through the social work program; she works part-time with children at a tapestry program in Rutland and has done countless trainings in areas including mindfulness, basic specialized care and professional development.
“College was never my first choice, but I knew it was something that I had to do to be successful in the future,” she said.
Cotrupi says it is hard to believe that it’s the beginning of the end. She is nervous that she may not get a good enough job to afford student loans and other expenses, but is ready to see what the real world has in store for her. She hopes all the effort she put in will be worth it.
For those having doubts whether college is worth it or not, The New York Times has some reassuring information. According to new data based on an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree.
And some students are opting for more college instead of the working world. “I plan to attend Castleton in the fall of 2015 to start a second Bachelors degree in psychology. I don’t believe four years is enough time to obtain the responsibility and mentality required to make it in this world,” said senior Rachel Thompson.
Thompson was a transfer student from Johnson State, who had a hard time adjusting to Castleton, but now is focused and driven.
The key to success is to give as much as you want to get.
“My advice is, give college 100 percent, no matter what the class is. It’s not necessarily the curriculum that prepares you, it’s time management, the deadlines, and the dedication. College should be a fun experience, but taken seriously. I wish I could go back,” said Castleton alum Lily Reynolds, who is currently employed full-time at Casella Waste Management in the Public Relations Department.
“To those students who feel like they have regrets from their college experience at Castleton, it’s never too late, and you’re never alone,” said communication professor Roy Vestrich.
“It’s okay to be lost. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing with the rest of your life. Life is a journey, if you’ve learned to adapt to your own life and the changes around you, you’re going to be just fine.”
But, he said, realize that you should be a little afraid of what life has in store for you too.
“If you don’t have fear, you’re a fool. To have fear is to be aware, and to have an understanding that anything can happen. Fear is normal and any good journey is worth getting lost,” said Vestrich.