Tuesday, June 3, 2008

So What's Next?

For this post, I thought it would be important to talk about the thing that is on every senior's mind, what is next? How do I find a job and can OU help me after I have graduated?

To find those answers I talked to Dean Pidcock, a graduate assistant with Career Services and Jim Harris, Assistant Director of Alumni Marketing and Communications.

When I talked to Pidcock, the first thing he said was that if you are a senior and just starting to look for a job, it will take about three to six months to find a job. He also mentioned that most recruiters come in the fall and since OU is on a quarter system and most schools have been out, which might make it harder.

He was optimistic about job searches, however, even though he said the job market in general right now is tight. If a person is flexible, it not be difficult for them to find a job, but as you start narrowing your search down, it gets harder. For example, he said an education major might find it hard to find a job in Ohio because there are many qualified people looking for teaching jobs. If they were willing to relocate to the West, however, that are in need of teachers and will even give signing bonuses for taking a position. If you are looking at a specific geographical location, be flexible in the kinds of positions, even if it is a job you didn't go to school for.

Pidcock also said to be looking for a job in a variety of ways. Only 4% of the people who are looking for jobs on Monster.com find jobs via that site.

Be realistic about your starting salary, Pidcock said. Most starting jobs are less than $40,000 to $60,000. Looking at the different benefits packages because though a job might pay more, you might not get as much in terms of insurance or retirement savings plans. That bit could be worth a lot more than a few thousand more dollars a year.

"I would say that (the small starting salary) is a shock to undergrads," he said.

He also said to be willing to work at a job that is not as high up in the company as you want.

His last bit of advice was to make sure that if you start investing for retirement right away, even if your company does not give you a retirement plan. For more from Career Services, check out thier website, they have lots of tips and other resources.

Another place to look for guidance is a place that many students look right past, the Konneker Alumni Center. Harris said the biggest thing the Alumni Center had to offer was several opportunities to network with fellow alumni.

The first way he said a graduating senior could connect with alumni and get valuable information about jobs and the places they live is call the gateway. It is a networking site similar to Facebook where you cal look up over 11,000 alumni, searching by location, degree or current place of employment. Harris instructed anyone who is interested in this to go to the alumni website and go to the link that says networking. Once there, click on the gateway and enter your e-mail address and your ten digit PID number. Then you can make a profie and start networking with fellow bobcats.

The other thing he said to do was get involved in Alumni chapters and societies. Alumni Chapters are geographically based and to get involved find your location and e-mail the chapter president. He said this was a great way to find fellow bobcats close to where you live, and they are in most of the major cities in the U.S.. Societies are a affinity based organizations you can join, such as if you were in the Marching 110 or Singing Men of Ohio. They are helpful too, but Harris emphasized the chapters because they are more likely to be able to help you with the important things you want to know, such as where a good place to live is and if anyone is hiring at the company you want to work for. There are many opportunities to get assistance as a graduating senior, he said so don't heslitate to stop in and make sure the center has your current contact information so you can stay connected to OU.

Well I hope this helped you as much as talking to these guys helped put my mind at ease.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Transition

So I don't know about you, but graduating is scary business. Even if I knew exactly what I was doing after college, it would be a major transition. I figured you would feel the same way, so I decided to discuss with our good friends Lynn Walsh, Adam Fardy, Beth Beach, Chris Yonker and Sadie Roth to give us their fears and tips for overcoming them.

Lynn Walsh is going to get a job when she graduates, but hasn't found one yet. She said, and I can attest, that it is hard to live life, take classes AND find a job your senior year of college. Though she is nervous, she is confident in her education.

"The whole suspense of not knowing is hard but I would rather enjoy my last few weeks here," Walsh said.

This is all part of the emotions that have been hitting her as she plans to leave. She feels excited to see what is in store for her next, but she is sad to leave OU and all her friends and memories. OU has been a comfort zone for so long.

There are a few things she is doing to ease the transition along. She is setting up meetings with people, such as work-out dates with people she is leaving behind and those that are also moving on. Included in those lists are getting buddy or sorority families together one last time. She is also making sure to let professors who have had a great impact on her life know they are appreciated.

When Adam Fardy graduates next week, he knows exactly what he is doing for the next few years. He will be going home and working at law firm near his family's home in Cincinnati then going to law school. He is looking forward to enjoying the Cincinnati lifestyle and spending time with his family taking it easy for a while before jumping back into academia. Even so, he knows he will miss Athens.

"I'm ready to leave the school aspect, but this has been my home," Fardy said.

He is confident in his transition and his plans for the next few years, trusting that a year with his family will be great and doesn't believe the rumors that once you leave school you don't come back.

Beth Beach will be staying in Athens next year, as a staff member for Campus Crusade for Christ, a christian movement on campus. Though she is excited about her new role, she knows there will be an adjustment. Being on campus and not taking classes will be weird she said. Beach is also slightly worried about the change in role between her and younger friends and her and the staff members she will be working with. The role reversal will be interesting to come over, seeing the people she looked up to as equal partners in the movement now and learning how to navigate those changing relationships, learning how to make small talk and really build relationships with the other members of the staff. Beach will not have to do it alone, however, and is glad about that. A few of her friends will be joining her on staff.

For Chris Yonker, the symbolism of graduation is what is getting him most.

"I still don't see myself as responsible for anything," he said.

He also said that the assurances from family and friends is a deterent because it seems the same for anyone and not just him. Yonker is not sure what he is going to do after college, mentioning that he is scrambling for a job. He said he is sure his parents would love to have him back, but seeing as how he hasn't lived in his family's house since freshman year winter break, it would be quite an adjustment.

Sadie Roth agrees with Walsh that graduating is a sea of emotions- one minute she is ready to leave and the next she is sad and weirded out by the change. She said that she already feels old in Athens because she has been going to OU, first as an undergrad and then as a master's student.

To start making the adjustment, she has been attending sporting events, plans on taking one mroe good walk on East Green and has been cleaning out her apartment with her roomate. Roth has also started investingating the Akron area, her new neighborhood. She has been investingating apartments she might be interesting and looking into finding things she knows she will need to make the transition, such as a gym and seeing what the city has to offer. She decided to do this because she knows what she will miss most is the social interaction and knows she is not a good transitioner.

If these stories did not calm some of your axieties about the transition from college to wherever you end up, here are two websites that might give you some pointers and more reasurance: The Quarterlife Crisis-A One-Stop Info-Shop for Recent Grads and Beyond and Quarterlife Crisis: Official Site of the Quarterlife Crisis Books, both revolving around the book, Quarterlife Crisis, talking about the official transition to adulthood, accoring to the one-stop-shop site. That site (the first link) has links to different tips for the different areas of your life, and a message forum so you can discuss these issues with others. The second site has a link to statistics the authors of the books have gathered about the twenty-somethings of today. Hopefully those will help you put things in perspective as you pack up to leave Athens.

OU Favorite Places

So here are the pictures that you have been waiting for of some of the seniors' favorite places on campus. Now, because of the lack of response to the survey, these are simply the top picks of students I interviewed and myself, but I feel they could be representative of many seniors.
One of Adam Fardy's favorite places was College Green where he played games with his fellow residents from True House.

Scripps is one of my favorite buildings and is also a favorite of Lynn Walsh.

A look at what used to be the Front Room, a hot spot for Adam Fardy.

Chris Yonker used to spend a lot of time in this area, so did I. Let me tell you, the Post's offices in the new Baker Center are a million times better, as is most of new Baker from the old one.

East Green Drive is a favorite of Sadie Roth, a graduating Master's student studying Industrial Engineering who has spent six years in Athens and whom you will hear more from in a future post.

South Green in front of True House, where many South Greeners hang out and play games.

True House, the first place Adam Fardy or I ever lived in Athens.

This area right in back of South Green was always one of my favorites. I still frequented this area even after moving off South Green.

One of Beth Beach's top places in all of Athens, Emeriti Park. I love it too.

This Bobcat simply deserved a picture, perhaps I will take another picture there with cap and gown?

Sadie Roth will miss going to Peden Stadium.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The scoop on the day it is officially over

In investigating things that seniors at Ohio University would be interested in learning about, I got to wondering what graduation would really be like for all of us who are walking across the stage on June 14. So I called the Office of University Events and got the inside scoop from Molly Gilmore, a senior who works as a receptionist and stage hand for the office. She has a unique perspective on the event, however, because her father used to be the associate director for the Office of University Events and she has assisted with graduation since she was 10 years old.

The basic run-down of an Ohio University Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony goes a little like this:

  • Seniors arrive at the garage at the Convocation Center by 8:45 (College of Business, Scripps College of Communications, College of Fine Arts, Regional Campuses, Russ College of Engineering & Technology and University College) or 1:15 (College of Arts & Sciences, College of Education, College of Health & Human Services, Honors Tutorial College)
  • Each student will get a notecard with their name on it to give to the announcer when it is time to call their name.
  • Each college has its own portal to the floor of the convocation center and will start proceeding in led by a marshall holding the college flag. (Gilmore said there were a lot of spotlights going on at this time as well as the playing of the graduation song.
  • After that the platform party (the president, the commencement speaker, etc.) will be processed as will the OU Mace (our OU seal)
  • The speakers will give their speeches before the changing of the tassel. This years commencement speaker is Peter King, a 1979 grad and a senior writer for Sports Illistrated
  • Each students name will be read off by college and they will proceed out the door to meet family and friends (Gilmore recommends you establish a spot with your family before commencement so you will be able to find each other quickly.)

Gilmore did give some dos and don'ts for the event:

  1. Do decorate the top of your mortor board. She said she has seen some that light up. Gilmore did say to remember that nothing can hang down and graduates cannot decorate their gowns.
  2. Do not bring beach balls to toss around. "Every year people try to neek in things like beach balls and they get taken away and people get mad, but it is too distracting.
  3. Those in charge will not hesitate to take a person who looks like he or she is drunk out of the line, disappointing themselves and those who came to celebrate with them
  4. Do sit with friends from your college. The announcing is not done alphabetically, so sit with the people you have suffered through all those classes with. I already know my "posse" for the big event.

One thing Gilmore told me that I found interesting was that we should be on the look out for a student who graduated in 1970. That year no commencement ceremony was held and many 1970 grads have walked in the years after. She remembers one year a 1970 alum's son was graduating so the alum chose to walk with his son.

Another thing I found interesting was that anyone who applies could be an usher or a marshal. They simoly need to apply, be interviewed and go through training.

The last and most important thing on most seniors mind is how long is it going to take and Gilmore assured me that they do a good job of not making it too long.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This blog is designed to document the thoughts rolling through the head of the soon-to-be college graduate. It will explore the memories of four years spent getting a college education, thoughts and tips on transitioning to the next step, information about some of the events still going on and the history behind them and, for all those crazed seniors, tips for getting a job.
Of course during the last quarter of their last year at Ohio University, any senior will get nostalgic, thinking back to the memories they have made and places they will find hard to leave. Four fellow seniors, who are all aquantances of mine, have recently shared their experiences with me. Let's see if you have similar memories and favorite places.
Lynn Walsh, a journalism major and senior class president this year, started thinking last quarter about makign a "bucket list." This is a list of things that she and her friends needed to do and experience before leaving OU, many of which she reported on Palestra.com. It started out with a list of sporting events they had been to before- a basketball and hockey game. Spring quarter they made a collection of things that are unique to OU that they thought they must do, based on recommendations they had heard from alumni over the years. Many of the items were restaurants, like the Burrito Buggy and Miller's Chicken. Others have been going to Bong Hill, golfing on the OU golf course, climbing the climbing wall at Ping and taking pole dancing classes in Athens.
"We would never go (pole dancing) in another city, but it Athens it's OK," she said.
She has also been thinking about memories a lot because she is working on the senior class gift, a digital time capsule. Lynn has been collecting stories about memorable experiences and other things that would represent our four years at OU. Among the things people have told her already, seniors remember the flooding of freshman year, the time OU beat Pitt in football, and Halloween in Athens. She said she will always remember the fests and homecoming.
For Adam Fardy, a history major, memories are closely tied to his favorite places. The first thing he mentioned was the old Front Room, adding that he has not spent much time in new Baker Center. He said he has enjoyed College Green, remembering a time at the beginning of his sophomore year that a group of friends played games there for hours. He also said he discovered Strouds Run in the spring of sophomore year.
He has the fondest memories of his freshman year, thinking back to the days when "work was important, but not that important." Adam said he was glad to have such a tight nit community to welcome him in and ease him into college life.
Beth Beach, an integrated language arts major, said the thing she'll miss the most about college is the randomness- meeting random people with whom you end up having random connections and realizing these are some of the best memories you will have. This is what she feels is unique to college.
She has enjoyed the things Athens has to offer outside, frequenting Emeriti Park and the trails at Strouds Run.
"When you are doing things outside you feel more relaxed," Beth said.
Chris Yonker, a journalism major, said one of the things he'll miss the most is O'Betty's, which has become one of his favorite spots to gather with his friends since moving off campus. Midnight breakfasts at the United Methodist Church on College Street have become a source of memories as well. Once he and some friends from home sang Bohemian Rhapsody while enjoying their breakfast.
Another memory that only Chris can have is protesting with the labor union while a group of people was protesting something he wrote about in the Post.
These students will have more insight in other posts, talking
about the transition from college, but now it is your turn.
I want to know what your favorite memory of OU is.
Where is that one spot you have to go to one last time?
Take the survey and see how your memories compare to other
viewers in a future post.