As graduation draws near, seniors face questions from parents, family and friends about what they will be doing after Knox — work or graduate school; living alone, with strangers or with friends from Knox; moving home or moving somewhere new. Generally, the feeling among seniors is that of nervousness and excitement born from uncertainty about the future. Even at this late date many do not have concrete plans about work, graduate school or living arrangements.
“I am both terrified and, at the same time, ready to get out. I know I don’t want to be here the rest of my life, but it is scary, and I know I’m going to miss Knox a lot,” senior Aaron Palmer, a History and Creative Writing double major, said of graduating.
Palmer plans to attend graduate school in Library Science, but is still waiting to hear back from all of his schools about costs and assistantships, leaving the question of where he will be living still in the air. “If I get some sort of assistantship or work study, I’ll get a stipend from the school, otherwise I’ll get some kind of part-time job,” Palmer said.
The thing that is certain for Palmer, though, is whom he will be living with. “I am living with my fiancée — just a small apartment for the two of us.”
For senior Brittney Ostlie, an English and Latin double major, graduate school is a certain, but housing is less so. “I am moving to St. Paul and getting my masters at the University of St. Thomas in Catholic Studies,” Ostlie said, “But I’m still looking for a place and roommates.”
Ostlie has met a possible roommate, “She’s strange, but she seemed normal enough.”
For those not immediately attending graduate school, finding a job is the main struggle they face in the coming months. “I’m kind of nervous and kind of excited at the same time,” senior and Creative Writing and Psychology double major Katie Johnston said.
Johnston plans to move to Chicago and is going to “move slowly” finding her place in the world for the coming year.
“It’s close and I’ve been there a dozen times since starting Knox; I know a lot of people there,” Johnston said.
Johnston plans to live with another Knox senior, Creative Writing major Krista Ahlberg. Contemplating leaving Knox, Ahlberg said, “I feel like I should probably feel nervous, but I’m not. It means I’m putting off applying for things.”
Ahlberg is currently looking at jobs and internships, hoping to eventually find a position in publishing. “I’ve found lots of internships that might turn into jobs in the future. I only started applying less than a month ago,” Ahlberg said.
So far she has applied for approximately 10 positions and has a “gigantic list” of positions she is looking at. She is currently looking for jobs in Chicago as well as Longmont, Colo., her hometown. In the long term Ahlberg is planning on going to graduate school, though she does not yet know in what field.
No matter what their plans are at this point, most seniors have some anxiety about the future. “There’s the fear that I’ll wind up jobless and alone—but I think that’s normal,” Ahlberg said.
In the end, despite the many difficult changes and transitions that the graduates of 2011 face, they ultimately have confidence in their ability to face the challenges to come.
“I had a really good Knox experience,” Palmer said.