CASTLETON—On Saturday, May 13, Castleton seniors walked across the stage and received their diplomas from President Dave Wolk. Commencement ceremonies are a time-honored tradition signifying an important milestone in nearly every graduate’s life. After spending most of their lives in school and the past four years at university, students are now challenged with the task of creating lives and careers for themselves. It will be the least structured experience many have faced yet in their lives.
In an article titled “Ready or not; 2017 grads talk about future plans,” published May 2 in the Castleton Spartan student newspaper, student Nicole Webster speaks with seniors just prior to Commencement Day. Here is an excerpt from her story:
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, N.Y.; Bowen Lord, who will be working for the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden, Vt., 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,” said Blaiklock, adding. “I’m not feeling hopeless anymore.”
Much of Blaiklock’s 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.
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.
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.
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.
Halnon agreed, saying 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.