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Notre Dame seniors discuss career routes

| Friday, May 19, 2017

After graduating from Notre Dame, members of the class of 2017 will be involved in various different pursuits, ranging from full-time employment to attending graduate school.

Though data regarding the class of 2017’s post-graduation plans will not be available for another year, director of the Career Center Hilary Flanagan said that the graduating class will be taking on a wide range of activities over the course of the next year.

“From anecdotal evidence, it seems that the class of 2017 is incredibly diverse, as we would expect from their varied interests, passions and skill sets,” she said.

While noting that some industries don’t perform entry-level hiring until the summer, Flanagan said the current job market is “one of the best in recent history for new graduates.”

“Recruiters representing organizations across the spectrum of industries have indicated that their needs for acquiring new talent are at a high,” she said. “For those industries that have seen the bulk of their hiring occur throughout the academic year, the interest in our students has been at levels not seen since before this graduating class was in high school.”

According to data for the class of 2016 — available on the Career Center website — 64 percent of graduates had found full-time employment the fall after graduation, 22 percent were enrolled in graduate or professional school, 2 percent were still seeking employment, 7 percent were involved in a service program, 1 percent were serving in the military and 3 percent had other plans.

Graduating senior Ryan McMullen, a computer science major, will be working as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, D.C. this fall. McMullen said he ultimately decided between following this path and pursuing a two-year master’s program at Notre Dame with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

“I wanted to expand my professional acumen with the intent to teach in the future and bring what I learn in the professional world to that setting,” McMullen said. “I want to experience the working world and grow in ways I have not yet had the opportunity to do. I am also very passionate about helping people, which is what I think led me to the consulting realm.”

McMullen said he credits the University’s Career Center for his placement in his future job.

“Notre Dame’s career services and career fairs are 100 percent the reason I got this job,” he said. “They put me in touch with the company at the fair, and the rest just fell into place.”

When it comes to the career process, McMullen said he advised patience for those still looking for a job.

“The career process is a little daunting, but it just takes time and effort into determining what it is you truly want to do and what steps will help you get there,” he said. “Then, all you have to do is let your passion for those outcomes shine.”

Senior English and theology double-major Madeline Lewis will be attending graduate school at Miami University in Ohio, working toward obtaining a Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing. As part of the program she is enrolled in, Lewis will be writing poetry in workshops and teaching freshmen. Had she not gotten into graduate school, Lewis said she would have worked for a year and then reapplied.

“While I studied abroad the spring semester of my junior year, I started to realize that the things I would think about while traveling on long trains or while exploring different countries were always ideas for poems,” she said. “I was surprised by this because I had only taken one poetry class at ND the semester before, and didn’t consider at the time that that was something I wanted to do post-grad.”

In the fall semester of this year, Lewis took an advanced poetry writing class and started considering an MFA as a possibility. In a mid-semester meeting, her professor suggested it as a possibility without any prompting, she said.

“From then on, it started to feel like the perfect fit for these next couple years — the chance to be creative, gain teaching experience and have the structures in place to be able to really work on my writing in a focused setting,” Lewis said.

Lewis said she credits her study abroad experience and her professors for helping her reach her decision to pursue an MFA. She also said it was important to keep everything in perspective when considering post-graduation plans.

“One thing that has helped me find peace in the whole process has been remembering that I’m deciding what I want to do with the next one, two or three years of my life,” she said. “It took a lot of pressure away when I stopped thinking of my post-grad plans as ‘the whole entire rest of my life forever and ever.’ Reminding myself this, I felt more free to do something creative after college, and to plant good seeds of writing skills and imagination that I hope to be able to see grow in lots of ways over the course of my career.”

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About Tom Naatz

Tom is a senior at University of Notre Dame. He is majoring in Political Science and Spanish and is originally from Rockville, Maryland. Formerly The Observer's Notre Dame News Editor, he's now a proud columnist for the paper.

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