Experience Post Graduate Life

Experiencing Post-Graduate Life

So many of us graduating seniors are bombarded and weighted with the doom and gloom of the future—the monotonous humdrum corporate life just knocking at our doors. But, don’t fret, because we still have time to thrive.

It is not to say that our future jobs and/or possible internships won’t be amazing, but sometimes thinking about being an adult in the working world can be scary and daunting. Trying anything new is hard to think about, but not when it is something perhaps you’ve always wanted to do.

We have summer 2017 to do some of the things we have always wanted to do, but couldn’t do because of the mountains of work and school-affiliated responsibilities we had in our four years of undergraduate studies in college.

Dr. Chris Hirschler, Chair of Health and Physical Education and associate professor, said, “Life doesn’t stop after graduation. Students who worked really hard during their time at Monmouth will likely not have a lot of free time as they will be applying for graduate school or jobs and preparing for either endeavor. Other students might realize that they had much more free time in college than they do post-graduation.”

With this extra time, we can engage in activities we didn’t have the time for during our undergraduate studies. Many of us would have loved to study abroad at our time here at Monmouth, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Perhaps we couldn’t find the money, spare the time, or bring ourselves to leave home for so long. Whatever the issue may have been, we didn’t get to study abroad.

Now, after hopefully saving money and with this new allotted time, we can think about visiting other countries. Maggie Zelinka, a Monmouth alumna, said, “after graduating from Monmouth, I realized that I would not have nearly has much free time employed as I would unemployed, so I made sure to travel when I could.”

“I don’t think people realize how important traveling is. It helps clear your mind and relieve stress, which is necessary post graduation. I felt pretty stressed after graduating college, so a vacation was the perfect answer,” she continued.

Stress will be relieved, yet heightened all at the same time for graduates. The stress of study and loads of assignments to do simultaneously will be relieved, but the stress of “real life” heightens. Zelinka adds, “I mean, how are we not supposed to be stressed? We have been in the routine of getting up and going to school since pre-K and then all of the sudden your daily routine for 15+ years changes.”

We become so accustomed to the routine of schooling that we don’t know exactly how to transition into a life of more ease and different environments. However, we have this time of possibly awkward unemployment to truly experience post-graduate stress relief. Traveling is definitely a great way not only to relieve stress, but also to experience new things.

Robyn Asaro Assistant Director of Study Abroad, said, “life gets in the way; sometimes, when you are 22 and just about to graduate, you don’t realize this as much as you will in the years to come. So, take my good advice and go do something out of the box and exciting, like traveling!”

“Human beings need new adventures and to feel a sense of awe and wonder.  Travel takes you out of your head and into the moment because it often feels surreal to find yourself standing in front of something like the Duomo in Florence or the Eifel Tower in Paris for example. I believe travel is good for the soul,” Asaro added.

Asaro also gave the great suggestion of asking relatives for the graduation gift of money instead in order to set it aside to afford the expenses of traveling. Putting that money aside and some of the money most of us assuredly have set aside for future expenses, it’s totally manageable to get yourself somewhere exotic.

However, if you still don’t find it reasonable, there is always the all-American road trip. Hirschler stated, “There’s also plenty to see and do in the U.S.. Before attending medical school, my best friend drove from NY to spend two months hiking and camping in the Western United States.” 

On the other hand, some students found that this extra time they could use to travel could also be used to indulge an artistic passion. Graduate student of English, Connor White, decided that after graduating from Monmouth he would join a band, Couple of Guys.

White said, “I joined the band because music is a real passion of mine and whether it works out or not in the long run, it’s something I’ll be able to look back on and be proud that I did.  As you get older, dreams get harder to follow.  Jobs, family, commitments: they all pile up and make it extremely difficult to find time to pursue your passion.”

“I’ve always been somewhat conservative when it comes to dealing with the terms of reality, but if you never at least try to pursue your dreams it will most likely be a huge regret when you get older,” White continued.

Chair and specialist professor of music and theater arts, Joseph Rapolla, said, “Students should absolutely follow their passions whether music, theater, arts industry or whatever. Follow the light that pulls you and keep the blinders off and be open-minded to see all of the other pass that will materialize as you go down the road.”

So, whether it be music, dance, and/or theater, sometimes we neglect our love and passion for these things to focus on our studies. Post-graduation time is a great time to finally re-indulge in these arts and really pursue them.

Alexus Bird, a Monmouth alumna, shared, “My advice to graduating seniors is to honestly just have as much fun as you can! Go out with your friends as much as possible, do something you’ve always wanted to do like traveling. You have so much time to find a job, but just because college is over doesn’t mean your life is too. You have forever to find a job, so continue to enjoy being a young adult while you can.”

There is a true feeling of freedom when we enter into college as bright-eyed and happy first year students. When we graduate, we feel wrecked, for a lack of a better word. We have been through a lot—highs and lows academically, socially, and emotionally. We all deserve to unwind, even if it is just for a few weeks before entering our hopefully bright and rewarding futures in the working world.

PHOTO TAKEN by Amanda Drennan