Graduating students make transition from college life to career
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
With the end of the school year a little more than a month away there is one thing on every DePaul senior’s mind: what to do after they graduate.
More importantly, they all want to know how they can be happy after four years of having Fridays off and being a short walk a way from a plethora of bars that cater to their demographic.
DePaul psychology professor Jessica Choplin believes that one key to happiness after graduation involves keeping your activities consistent.
“If you have many amazing experiences it can make your everyday experiences [after graduation] seem mundane,” Choplin said.
Some seniors look to continue their experiences by traveling after graduation, including some DePaul students.
“I wanted to travel and get away for a long period of time before I started work,” said Natalia Urbanek, 23, who graduated from DePaul last year with a degree in finance. She left to backpack through Europe for six months a few days after graduation.
“I got to see a lot, do a lot, and experience a lot,” said Urbanek. “I don’t think I will have an opportunity to take off six months again.”
However, once Urbanek returned to the United States, she ran into some trouble because she was no longer experiencing a new and exciting place every day.
Instead, she was forced to move back into her parents’ home in Park Ridge, Ill. after living on her own for the past four years.
Urbanek was able to remain content through this transition by managing her expectations.
She also had to deal with the fact that most of her friends had already found jobs by the time she returned, which made her nervous and anxious. Now she was broke, felt as if she should already have a job, and was feeling the pressure from her parents to find one.
After a few month of searching Urbanek found a job as a fund accountant for Northern Trust. She said that if the search had taken longer she could have gotten down on herself.
She said that if the search had taken longer she could have gotten down on herself.
“Unemployment is a huge problem for well-being,” said Choplin. “It’s really one of the biggest issues next to divorce. Unfortunately, there is no real solution. Just try to find a job and keep your nose to the grind stone.”
However, Choplin said that people need to be aware of the “potential to fall into a learned helplessness state,” and avoid it. Because if they are not persistent and start to believe that there is nothing they can do to find a job, they will become depressed.
A good way for seniors to avoid unemployment altogether is to network through a job or internship they have in college.
Elle Eichinger, 22, graduated from DePaul and said she remembers her brother calling her all the time and telling her “don’t graduate, it’s the worst.”
But with a degree in journalism, she turned her internship at a Michigan Avenue Magazine into a full-time position. She is now the magazine’s online marketing editor, which she said she loves. But not every recent graduate feels this way.
The best way to avoid feeling as if life after college is terrible is to find a job that is challenging and pleasurable. But if that does not happen, there is a way to avoid it.
“If you can cognitively get yourself in the mind set where you put that [wow] experience in a different context and you don’t compare the day after, when you go off to work, and it’s nowhere near as exciting, you might be better off,” said Choplin.
Some seniors are fortunate to graduate college with a full-time job. Senior Sonal Moraes secured a job as an Account Coordinator at Cision and began work during spring quarter eliminating any stress of job searching.
“It’s the most relieving feeling ever,” said Moraes. “It’s a little difficult to take classes seriously now, but I don’t feel stressed anymore.”
If a graduating senior does get a job they enjoy, such as Eichinger, the worst part of graduating might be the fact that they no longer have a gym membership included in their tuition or that they now have to pay to ride the ‘L.’
An advantage Eichinger has found graduating from DePaul is that many of her friends have remained in Chicago for work, as opposed to a state school, where she said people graduate and then their friends go different places.
“On the weekends we still go do the things we were doing in college,” said Eichinger. “We still go out. We’re doing it now like three days a week as appose to seven.”