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Students graduating from College arrange future, enjoy present

Megan O'Neil | Tuesday, February 7, 2006

With just 102 days remaining until they don caps and gowns to receive their diplomas, Saint Mary’s seniors are maintaining an upbeat attitude as they wade through job interviews and graduate school applications.

Marketing major Jackie Paunicka, who already has three job offers after a fall semester full of interviews, said she looks forward to graduating and moving to Chicago with friends.

“Heck yeah, I’m ready to start making money,” Paunicka said.

Katie Jo Cornelius, an English literature and secondary education major who is spending her final semester student teaching at Saint Mary’s, has not secured a job yet. But she knows she wants to find a position in Lafayette, Ind.

” I don’t have a job, but I’m not nervous,” Cornelius said.

Jeff Roberts, the director of the Saint Mary’s Center for Career Opportunities, said the seniors he has met the last few weeks are not “panicked” but “alert and highly motivated.”

“My message to seniors is it is never to late to use the Career Center, and if people feel behind, it is all the more reason,” Roberts said.

Many seniors have already been accepted into graduate programs, including law and dental school, Roberts said. Students majoring in computer science, finance, business and marketing usually have the most success securing positions while still in school.

Other majors, such as education, will not truly start their search until late spring and early summer.

Charlotte Orzel, the only senior vocal performance major at the College this year, spent the last three and a half years preparing for a career in opera. But after a stressful fall semester she decided not to apply to graduate programs in music and instead hopes to find a job in business.

“The career of a musician is different,” Orzel said. “The lifestyle [is] very isolated, and there are no short term goals.”

Job-hunting can be tremendously time-consuming, Roberts said.

“The rule of thumb is that for every $10,000 [you want to earn] you should plan on spending a month in full-time work searching,” Roberts said.

Anne Knable, an elementary education major, went abroad to find a job. She will be teaching next year at The Irish Institute, an all-boys K-12 Catholic school in Monterrey, Mexico.

“I’m ready to move to Mexico and be in the warm [weather],” Knable said.

Leaving Saint Mary’s is an exciting but nerve-wracking prospect for many seniors.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Cornelius said. “I’m excited but I feel like I just grew so much here … It was just a huge part of my life where I became a whole new person.”