Graduates Deal With Entering Real World

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

May 13, 2005

For fourth years like Jennie Stoneburner, graduation is a time of saying good-bye: good-bye to friends, significant others, and a flexible lifestyle.

But it is also a time of saying hello to the 'real world', and this looming meeting causes some serious soul searching.

"If I don't go to grad school do I want to work at a non-profit? Do I want to do marketing or some entry-level position at a business? Or do I want to do Teach for America?" Stoneburner asked herself.

Many fourth years are daunted by the thought that the first job they get has to be related to their major and then they will be stuck in that career path for the rest of their lives.

Counselor Greg Breihl from First Stone Counseling says life, not your major, determines your career.

"If you talk to people now in their thirties, forties, or fifties, you'll see that what they are doing for a living has nothing to do with their education," said Breihl.

But soon-to-be graduates can see what those who have gone before them have done by visiting the UVA Career center.

"We have a list of 21,000 alumni that are career mentors. And [students] can go through those lists and sort through them and see what they majored in, where they are located, and what they are doing now," said Ladd Flock, Career Services Director for the College of Arts and Sciences.

With Flock's assistance, Stoneburner got a job with Teach for America, a two year stint, which she realizes is okay.

"You kind of have to accept the fact that what you do after college is kind of the bridge to what you will do," she said.

And Stoneburner is cherishing every last moment before she steps off that bridge and into the 'real world'.

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