It’s no secret that life after graduation is often deemed a scary and intimidating place. But until we as students physically enter the “real world,” we cannot fully be sure of what lies ahead. However, we can turn to some of ISU’s recent graduates – those who have landed long-term jobs, gone onto grad school and experienced life after college – to better understand what it’s really like.
Kathy Knudsen: Deaf Education Alumnus
Kathy Knudsen knew that she wanted to continue her education, but she didn’t know how drastically it would alter her life.
“The biggest difference in my life since graduating college is living in Nashville, Tenn. by myself,” Knudsen said.
Currently, Knudsen is enrolled in graduate level classes at Vanderbilt University. While becoming acclimated to her new surroundings, she is enjoying life after college.
“My graduate classes are more tailored to my interests, and it makes everything more enjoyable. All the stress that went into applying for grad schools was definitely worth it in the end,” Knudsen said.
Isaac Mitchell: Graphic Design Alumnus
Today, Isaac Mitchell is working as a graphic designer at Chestnut Health Systems and has found that there are both positive and negative aspects when it comes to life after college.
“The biggest difference is the social aspect. You don’t have that sense of camaraderie with fellow students, and you have to find new social circles,” Mitchell said.
However, he has found that there are numerous advantages when it comes to being hired after graduation.
According to Mitchell, he landed a job that he had desired – something that ISU properly prepared him to do.
“So far, the real world really isn’t that bad. Working nine to five and having your evenings off is nice, and it feels good to focus on my life right now,” Mitchell said.
Patrick Donlan: Psychology Alumnus
“Finding a job is a difficult process. I think the scariest part at this moment is the uncertainty of it all,” Donlan said. “I’m sure that other recent grads are throwing everything they’ve got at the wall and hoping something sticks.”
After having no luck in the job department, Donlan made the decision to attend grad school this fall.
“Grad school is certainly different, but change might be a good thing after all,” Donlan said.
However, he continues to miss life in college, having not fully acclimated to adult life yet.
“My advice to students who are graduating is don’t. Illinois State is the best, and I wish I was still there … every day,” Donlan said.