Editorial Notebook

Senior faces post-grad life

Between Reunion Weekend and Family Weekend, campus has been flooded with alumni in recent weeks and it dawned on me—that could be me next year. When I entered RPI in the fall of 2011, graduation seemed so far away. But now, with Commencement looming in the not-so-distant future, I’m terrified. I’m just beginning to wrap my head around the idea that this could be my last year at RPI or even college and I feel completely unprepared to enter the world of independent, self-sufficient adults.

My expected date of graduation is May 2015 but I still don’t have the faintest idea of what I want to do with my life. Will I go to graduate school? Enter the work force? Or move back home with my tail between my legs?

I decided to start my venture into the adult world by tackling the career fair. For bioinformatics majors, finding interested companies at the career fair can be a challenge as most of them are seeking engineers. Despite this knowledge, I printed my newly updated résumé, donned my business clothes, and marched down to the Armory in high spirits. As a senior, the pressure was on to impress company recruiters and land interviews. The daunting lines at Regeneron and the few other well-known biotechnology companies sent me shaking in my dress pants. I began to seek out companies that may not be ideal, but could at least be a good starting place. Very few recruiters had any interest in a “biologist” and sent me on my way. I left the career fair disheartened and my fear of leaving RPI without any job offers only contributed to my graduation woes.

After my seemingly failed attempt to impress recruiters at the career fair, I sat down and thought about my options. Among other possibilities, I’ve been considering continuing my formal education. I’ve looked into many fields of study and while I would be happy enough pursuing any of these paths, I don’t truly feel passionate about any of them. Many seniors seem to know exactly what they want to do and are well on the way to achieving their goals. Unlike many of my peers, I’m still floundering around looking for inspiration.

I may not know exactly what career I will pursue in the future, but I have learned a few things from the odd jobs I have worked. I want my work to be ethical, valuable, enjoyable, and something to be proud of.

A few summers ago I worked for the Office of Residence Life. I didn’t particularly have a passion for sorting thousands of keys, recoring doors, filing paperwork, or appeasing enraged parents, but I still looked forward to work every morning. It was easy for me to see why I enjoyed work so much—the people. My coworkers made the time pass quickly even during the most challenging days. I highly encourage anyone who has the time, to visit the ResLife Office and get to know the people who work there.

I have also worked as a cheerleading coach as an instructor at camps and coaching my own team. Since working as a camp instructor, very few things have given me as great a sense of fulfillment as seeing the athletes I coached get new skills. During my experience, I learned that helping others achieve their goals can be as enjoyable as reaching your own.

After all of this, I still don’t have the faintest idea of what I want my future to look like and that’s ok—I don’t need to have everything figured out right now. While I might not be developing life-saving medicines, designing new technologies or swimming in cash as a business executive in the future, if I enjoy what I do, I can still be happy.