Campus / National / News / November 6, 2013

Seniors uncertain about job prospects

Despite having a sense of what they want to do after they graduate, be it immediate employment, long term volunteering endeavors or graduate studies, many Knox seniors do not have contingency plans in place should their intended plans fall through.

Claire Anderson ‘11 talks with Director of the Bastian Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development Terrie Saline about her plans after college at the "Almost There Fair" in Ferris Lounge on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. (TKS Archives)

Claire Anderson ‘11 talks with Director of the Bastian Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development Terrie Saline about her plans after college at the “Almost There Fair” in Ferris Lounge on Wednesday, April 13, 2011. (TKS Archives)

Although June is still quite a distance away, many seniors are faced with the question of whether or not they are beginning to feel ready to enter “the real world.”

Senior Nate Wilson said he intends on briefly delaying further schooling after Knox, intending to give himself a year before he begins the process of applying to medical schools.

“I feel like I’ll be fine,” he said. “I’m just going to work.”

Wilson, who is graduating after winter term with a degree in Biology, says he believes that his time at Knox has helped prepare him for the job market.

“Knox has done a good job of preparing me for the real world,” he said.

As a pre-med student, Wilson said the time he has spent doing clinical observations at hospitals, a medical mission trip to Mexico and applying to the Knox Early Admissions program has elevated his future job search.

“I’ve been through the process,” he said. “I know what it’s gonna be like.”

Senior Heidi Reidel,  who is majoring in creative writing and psychology, has a different economic perspective.

“I’m really struggling with that right now,” she said. “Like pretty much every other creative writing student here, I would ideally want to get into the Iowa Writers Workshop but their acceptance rate is something like one of 3,000 applicants so I’m not optimistic.”

Despite Reidel’s concern about the job market, she is considering her options.

“I don’t really know yet what else I’d want to do or where else I’d want to go because writing is all I’ve wanted to do since I was about nine,” she said. “At this point, I’m thinking about going to another country to teach English so I can travel and pay off some loans while I decide what I want to do.”

Although Wilson says he is not as concerned about the job market, he says he does not have an alternate plan aside from entering medical school.

“If I don’t get in, I don’t have a back-up,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing that scares me — I don’t want a career right now.”

Senior Matt Hendrick, who is graduating with a degree in Secondary Education and English Literature, also believes Knox has prepared him for the job market.

“I’m not too worried about the job market in the condition it is in,” Hendrick said. “I feel as if Knox did a great job preparing me for the future and if anything, I’m actually pretty confident heading into a weak market with a competitive degree and skills.”

Hendrick said his time spent doing classroom observations has helped his experiential learning.

“I’ve spent countless hours of observation in classrooms around the area to get used to the notion of leading a class,” he said. “It’s a lot different standing in front of a class rather than sitting in one. Student teaching [this winter] will obviously be another huge learning experience to benefit from.”

Hendrick is also in the process of weighing his post-graduation options.

“After graduating, I’m looking into going in the Peace Corps,” he said. “If that doesn’t work out then I plan on teaching English at the high school level.”

For Reidel, graduating with a degree in writing is unstable.

“Being a writer is probably one of the few careers that is just as unstable in a good economy as a bad one,” she said.

Despite Reidel’s concern as a writer, she is making plans to further her education.

“So far I’ve just been preparing my grad school application and I’ve researched a few programs for teaching English abroad,” she said.

To Wilson, current anticipation of life after graduation has still not settled in with many seniors.

“I don’t think too many people have started to think about it,” he said. “They hit freak-out mode spring term.”

Samantha Waight

Tags:  careers grad school graduation heidi reidel job market matt hendrick nate wilson peace corps

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