Headline: UC Davis seniors take their final
Layercake: What students are doing after graduation
By NICK MARKWITH
Aggie Features Writer
As the temperature rises to blistering degrees, it means only one thing for seniors: graduation.
After four years of undergraduate studies, they have finally made it to the home stretch. For many, school is not out just yet, as they head to graduate school and medical school. For others, this is the end of an era and the beginning of the next step of their lives.
For those lucky few who actually snatched a job working in their field of choice, they will tell you it was not easy. It took persistence, determination and a little bit of luck in order to get a job that matches their career goals.
For Melissa Anderson, getting a job at Apple’s Finance Development Program was a dream come true. As part of a program for college graduates who have majored in finance or economics, she will have the opportunity for the next two years to experience multiple finance departments within Apple. It is a rotational position, meaning she will change departments every three months, with one rotation being overseas either in China, London, England or Australia.
After two years in the rotation, she will get a stable position in the finance department that suits her best. All of this started with persistence and an internship.
“I called Apple HR and got the number for the college campus recruiter and once I sent my resume to her, I called several times to check up on the status of my application,” said Anderson in an e-mail interview. “This is what got me my internship – persistence. The squeaky wheel truly gets the grease in the business world.”
Senior Ali Fernandez had a similar experience for her career goal. She was offered a job at her local veterinarian practice. An animal studies major, she will be working with animals at a local practice as well as her county fair.
“I spoke with people I knew and used networking to obtain a job, rather than looking in business ads,” Fernandez said.
She suggests talking to family members, friends of family members, and friends of friends to see if they know anything about a job in your career.
Fernandez is not the only senior doing what she loves. Senior Alex Popken, an American studies major, will be working at the American Cancer Society as a recruiter for their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk as well as continuing to write for Davis Life Magazine.
Popken served on the UC Davis Relay for Life committee throughout her time at UC Davis. Passionate about cancer advocacy, she joined the American Cancer Society to help with their goal of ending cancer.
“It is important to me to work for an organization with integrity and with coworkers who are all working toward a common goal – to eliminate cancer,” said Popken in an e-mail interview.
As for writing, this is where her true passion lies. She has written for the Davis Life Magazine as a regular columnist and features writer for about a year. She hopes to see a writing career blossom in the near future, but until then, will satisfy her other passion.
Senior Christie Cotcher is only one of many students attending graduate school in the fall. A psychology major, she will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno for her master of arts in marriage, couples and family therapy.
Cotcher offers some advice for other students looking to either go to graduate school or their career of choice.
“If you’re really looking to get involved in a field, submerge yourself in it as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others to get situated,” she said.
Marcie Kirk-Holland, the project manager at the UC Davis Internship and Career Center, said there has been a growing trend of students like Cotcher who are attending graduate school instead of entering the work force because of the poor economy.
Entry-level jobs and internships
Working from the bottom up, these students have entered the work force with the hopes of advancing in their career. One student in particular, Sachi Petz, has big plans for herself one day and hopes to achieve them.
Currently working at Jamba Juice, the communication major hopes to enter the entertainment corporations in Los Angeles.
“I have been actively sending out my resume online to various networks for a position in fall,” Petz said. “Ideally, I would like to begin my career in an entry level position or internship at the MTV media networks or Mercury Media agency.”
Petz’s situation is similar to other students graduating this year. Dan Silvert is another graduating senior who is looking to find an internship in the fall.
Silvert left Davis during his junior year; he said that he was not yet ready for college. In that time outside of college, he tried to make refereeing ice hockey and playing poker his careers. He came back to Davis because he wanted more intellectual stimulation.
“My plan is to get a good summer job or internship,” Silvert said. “My advice [for others] is to get a relevant job or internship [experience] for good resume fodder.”
Another growing trend that Kirk-Holland has seen is that seniors are adjusting their expectations about the job market, like getting entry-level jobs in fields they do not necessarily want.
“Many [students] realize that they may need to take a job that is not what they had intended when they initially entered UC Davis,” Kirk-Holland said.
If you are a graduating senior and not one of the lucky few to procure a job in your field, do not fret, said Kirk-Holland. She encourages students to remain hopeful and realistic.
“The next year or so may be a challenging time to find work,” Kirk-Holland said. “However, people are finding satisfying employment.”
However, what Kirk-Holland finds the most important is what the graduating seniors are learning from the process.
“The class of 2009 will learn important life skills related to perseverance, planning and a set of skills we refer to as ‘career self-management’,” she said. “They may not work for an employer that provides training and a career direction for them, but, this year’s class will learn how to assess the skills they need to develop and find ways to do so.”
The UC Davis Internship and Career Center will be holding an intensive series of workshops for students covering everything from how to write your resume to how to negotiate a salary. They will be held from June 23 to June 25 in 114 South Hall between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
NICK MARKWITH can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.