Reality check for students after college


Kayla Clark, Staff Writer

What is the main thing we ask ourselves every day?

Think about it, just really think about it.

When in college like you are right now at AIC, you have everyday planned Monday all the way through Friday.

Never any worries – just focused on getting through the day of classes, passing exams and doing homework.

Other than that, you are living a college life, where you live with other people, free from parents, able to go wherever you want, whenever you want.

College is the time where you make mistakes and learn from them, you meet new people who will be your friends for life. Also, you figure what you want to do in life. That’s the question, what will you do when done with college?

Asking a few current students on the AIC campus this specific question of what will you do when done with college led to some interesting responses.

Junior Melissa Dessources said, “my plans after graduation are to find a job in my career field and then continue to go to school so I can get my masters. I plan to become a HIV specialists after getting the experience that I need.”

Fellow junior Claudia Conde also has high expectations for after graduation.

“I plan to go for my PhD in microbiology after I graduate,” said Conde.

Sophomore Royaal Jones has a different vision.

“I will pursue my dream of becoming a rugby player and use my knowledge that I got from college to get a job that can help me the best financially and emotionally,” said Jones.

Freshman Daniela Castro is eyeing grad school down the road.

“After college I plan on attending graduate school in Pennsylvania. I will continue my education in becoming a Physician Assistant,” said Castro.

The answer for everyone is different – you have people who come from everywhere and all have different majors. However, just by asking a simple question like that, you can see that majority of people have big expectations. Which of course, it’s easy to have high expectations now until you graduate and face the reality of things.

The way you live will not be the same compared to living on campus. Right now, you are combined with multiple people who are your friends, teammates, or just random strangers in a college dorm room or campus. But when you’re done with college you move on to either living with your parents again or even trying to live in your own place.

The time you spend will all be more different than going to parties in college which are like every other day. Some people might, but realistically not everyone will continue a party life. How you start to spend your days will be interesting to see the change from being in college.

What 2017 graduates Anna Mbengam and Crystal Mallett had to say about their perspectives is interesting to see what they are doing with their lives now.

“I spend my days traveling as much as I can,” said Mbengam. “Since graduation, I have been to MD, DC, NJ, NY, FL, GA and Nigeria. I plan on going to Ghana, South Africa and Morocco in the near future,” she added.

Meanwhile, Mallett is taking things a little slower.

“I spend my days taking steps that are benefiting myself and my goals in life. Constantly working, researching, staying up on trends, writing, talking to God,” said Mallett.

While in college, you’ve developed emotional connections with your college friends. So, when you graduate or drop out – whichever way you decide to do things – you’ll be missing the friends you made the last four years. Say a reunion or best friend from college comes up, you may take the time to come to the meet somewhere with your best friend across the country.

“I still have connections with my best friends,” Mbengam said. “My college friends have become sisters and family to me. We have continued to empower and motivate each other with the daily struggles. In fact, I am on vacation in Miami and will be going to Georgia with one of my best friends for my birthday.”

Mbengam added, “I traveled to Nigeria with one of my friends I met in college. One of my friends and I started a business together called Afrocentric Designs. It has been really successful; we are currently waiting on our winter collection from Nigeria. Over the summer, we went to numerous vending events and gained enormous amount of publicity. It is our current side-hustle while we seek to gain full time employment in the corporate world.”

Mallett agrees that those connections you make with college friends are not lost.

“College friends that I have, the majority of us live pretty close, so we see each other often. Each time we plan the next trip or event where we are able to link up again. Social media also helps,” said Mallett.

How long it takes to feel normal in the world of reality outside of college is the question. Is it really going to be easy?

“It feels as though I am lacking something, now that everyone is back in school. I miss studying or keeping busy, I do plan on pursuing my Master’s in the future. I am still figuring that, once I experience the world of traveling, meeting new people, forming new memories and understanding the importance of living a happy life,” said Mbengam.

Reality has not exactly set in yet for Mallett.

“I don’t feel normal yet,” Mallett said. “Not at all. This still feels weird for me to be out of school. Like yeah, we talk about wanting to be out of school so bad but once it actually happens it’s like what now? You actually are starting your next chapter in life and it hits you so hard.”

Reflecting on when she graduated, Mallett added, “I remember the week after graduating, sitting in my room staring at the walls like a mad person. It felt so unreal. Your next step to figuring who you really are in this world and what directions you have to move to get there. Moving out into the world is courageous and freeing and you’re constantly growing. Yeah, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m out of school but feeling normal, I won’t feel normal for a while.”

After school is the time for you to find a career path that you are passionate about and find it fun to do. However, doing so you come across a lot of challenges and setbacks. Not everything can just be given to you.

“One of the challenges that I have encountered is finding a job that gives me a sense of purpose. In this world, you have to choose between being happy with what you do or merely making money,” Mbengam said. “I have chosen the path to find happiness in the jobs I pursue. However, most jobs in my area of interests demands one or two-plus years of experience, which makes it harder to compete. I want to work with at-risk youth.”

“There is not much money in the field, but it is something I am passionate about. As a result, I have developed multiple routes of making incomes, while pursuing what I like, helping youths meet their full potential,” Mbengam added.

Mallett agreed that competition is tough in the job market when you’re just entering the workforce out of college.

“The challenge I faced is competing in the job market. The industry I’m interested in is very competitive so it is challenging to experience the ‘perfect’ job that is within the career choice I want. But I look at every opportunity as a learning experience and networking is key!” said Mallett.

Hopefully these experiences give everyone a wakeup call, or at least a reality check, to start thinking now about what they are going to do and to appreciate all the little things about college.