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Seniors consider life beyond the bubble

Katie Perry | Tuesday, February 7, 2006

No matter how secure or uncertain their post-graduate futures may be, seniors said they will take skills acquired at the University with them when the Notre Dame bubble bursts at commencement this May.

Career Center director Lee Svete said senior placement is assessed at graduation conjunctly with the Office of Institutional Research. Last year, 82 percent of the senior class had jobs or had been accepted to graduate school or service projects.

“Three months post-graduation that percentage increased to 95 percent with 5 percent still seeking employment,” Svete said.

Ahead of the game

While commencement ceremonies are not scheduled until May 21, some seniors like chemical engineering major Pamela Jefson have already secured jobs in their intended fields. Jefson said she will be working for Johnson & Johnson in its Global Operations and Leadership Development program.

Jefson said she interviewed for the position and received an offer in November. During the next two years, she will be rotating between three different companies – the first of which is with a medical device company in Juarez, Mexico.

“While I am not certain how applicable my technical classes will be, I believe the analytical and problem solving skills that I have developed as an engineer will allow me to be successful in any rotation I may encounter,” she said.

The adjustment from living in the Midwest – where Jefson has spent her entire life – to working in a foreign country will be most staggering, she said.

“The cultural and lifestyle differences are innumerable,” she said. “One of my biggest challenges will be getting used to not blending in with the majority of my co-workers and neighbors.”

Eddie Song, a double major in FFT and sociology, said he is “pretty certain” he will have a job next year in Japan as an English instructor. Additionally, he will be applying to film production jobs to build a “solid network” in the business.

Song said he will incorporate skills honed during his time at the University in his anticipated career.

“I will use all of my film production skills gained from the film classes here, apply film theory to make smart movies and use my sociology background to heighten my awareness of different audience groups,” he said.

Other graduating seniors plan to continue in academia and have already secured their pathways for graduate school. Kat Roblez – a double major in political science and Spanish with a minor in Science, Technology and Values – will be attending Harvard Law School next fall.

Roblez said research skills acquired at Notre Dame will “definitely” be helpful in grad school.

“More than the classroom experience, my personal experiences at ND have helped me to grow into a much more mature, focused and centered person,” she said. “Although many of my fellow students at Harvard will be much older, I feel quite prepared for the experience.”

Up in the air

The future for other seniors is clouded with pending applications and job offers. Biology major Grant Osborn said he “is at the mercy of” the eight graduate schools he applied to in order to receive a Master of Fine Arts in poetry. He will also be an applicant in the Teach for America program.

“Hopefully, I will get into one of the graduate schools I applied to or [Teach for America],” he said. “It’s odd – I majored in biology but I am pursuing a career in academia and poetics. Even though not directly related, both deal with the observation of the human and the desire to reach a greater understanding of life.”

English major Ryan Regula is also in limbo as he awaits word from various law schools. If that falls through, Regula said he has a job lined up at home – though it is not preferred.

“I suppose you can say I have a ‘secure’ job in Pennsylvania as a gravedigger because people are always dying. So, I guess I can always find work, but I do not want grave digging to be my profession,” he said. “Hopefully a Notre Dame degree can accommodate me with something a little different, but not necessarily less gritty.”

Looking ahead

In just three months, nearly 2,000 graduating seniors will bid farewell to the arms of Our Lady, but Osborn might not feel the effects of post-University life quite so soon.

“I applied to ND’s grad school so I wouldn’t mind spending another couple years in the ‘bubble,'” he said. “I would also welcome change, though.”

For the majority of graduating seniors whose futures will take them in divergent paths – sometimes thousands of miles from South Bend – the reality of the ‘real world’ has already started to set in.

“A large part of me would just love to stay [at ND] and see another football season, but I am looking forward to stepping outside of my comfort zone and begin working towards my future career,” Roblez said.

Jefson said she will cherish her last few months at Notre Dame, keeping in mind that all good things must come to an end.

“I am ready to discover what else is out there,” she said.