Graduates move on

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

On April 30 at 10 a.m., the class of 2005 graduating seniors will walk across the stage at the Frost Arena and accept their diplomas. Despite the impending changes in their lives, several seniors are not worried about the uncertainties that lie ahead. Whether it is graduate school, an internship or simply a getaway, each senior has a different plan for the future.

Graduate school

A common theme for many of the graduating seniors is graduate school.

Biology major Laura Dixon would like to attain a master’s degree in biology from SDSU.

“I was pretty much always aiming to do my master’s,” Dixon said. “With biology majors, I guess there’s not a whole plethora of opportunities other than higher education.”

Dixon doesn’t plan to stop at her master’s degree, though. Next up is the doctorate.

“I’d really like to work with curator and research or possibly go on and get my doctorate and teach eventually.”

Graduate school is a fairly common route.

Mary Kurtz, a communication studies and theatre major, is headed to graduate school at SDSU next fall as well.

“This summer, I have a job in Washington, D.C., teaching leadership conferences to high school students through the national FFA organization and then next fall I’ll start graduate school and I’ll be back here at SDSU, starting my master’s in communication studies,” Kurtz said.

She is not sure where she will end up after she receives her master’s degree, but for Kurtz, a two-year graduate program is enough to hold her focus.

“There are always backup plans, but not right now,” Kurtz said. “Right now, I have two years of graduate school to work with and I’ll kind of wait and see what opportunities open up in those next two years and kind of take it one stride at a time.”

Brad Bies, an agriculture business major, will be interning for the South Dakota Valued Agriculture Development Center for the next four months as an independent consultant before he goes back to school.

“Then I’m going to come back to the SDSU campus and work for the South Dakota FFA organization,” Bies said. “Our executive secretary is taking a break and I’ll be filling in for her for about three months. And then I’m planning on enrolling at SDSU for a master’s in economics.”

Bies isn’t in a rush to get a permanent job, though. After searching for jobs and finding out that the positions in his field weren’t readily available right now, Bies has some time to further his education.

“The master’s degree was something that I had been thinking about for a while, but I guess I wasn’t as actively pursuing jobs as some people were,” Bies said.

Rather than going out and getting any job right off the bat, Bies is going to take his time and find a job that he truly wants.

“I think what’s important is getting a job that I’d like to do and something that’s exciting, rather than something that pays well,” Bies said.

Job Market

Meanwhile, Melissa Bonander, a public recreation major, has immediate plans of pursuing a job as a university residence hall director.

“I’m just waiting to get calls back on those. I’m still sending out resumes,” Bonander said. “I’m probably going to take a year or two off and then I plan on going to graduate school to get my master’s in student personnel and student development.”

When it comes to getting a job right now, Bonander is crossing her fingers.

“I’m just kind of hoping,” Bonander said. “I’ve kind of known all throughout this year what I’ve wanted to go into. It’s just getting the job and getting the resumes out.”

Until she gets an offer for a job she would want to take, Bonander will be here in Brookings.

“Right now, I’m going to be living in Brookings with a friend. I’m also going to be working at the Wellness Center for a while until I find that full-time, permanent job. It could be, pretty much, anytime,” Bonander said.

Unlike many of her fellow seniors, Kelly Munroe, an ag business major, is moving to Sioux Falls with a job already in line at Wells Fargo Financial.

“It’s just a starting job, just to basically get a foot in the door,” Munroe said. “Wells Fargo has a lot of opportunities for advancement. Then, they also have really good incentives and will pay for me to get my master’s degree in business, my MBA.”

While the Wells Fargo job is a start, it isn’t Munroe’s ultimate goal.

“I don’t necessarily know for sure what I want to do; probably something in banking, maybe after a while get into ag-lending, to go with my background.”

Hoping to one day move back to her West River roots, Munroe would like to aid farms and ranchers with their financial needs.

“I would make annual visits to all of the ranch clients to see how the operation is set up and if they need loans for new equipment,” Munroe said.

Brian Catron, a public recreation major, is another senior who does not plan on attending graduate school in the future. After an internship this summer, Catron’s plans at the end of August are up in the air.

“I’ll be living in Sioux Falls doing internships there and then we’ll see after that,” Catron said. “I have an idea of what I want to do … but now it’s just to figure out where I want to live and how far I want to move away.”

For clinical laboratory science major Leslie Harer, the transition into the ‘real world,’ won’t be as difficult as some. After spending her first four years at SDSU, Harer has been in Sioux Falls this past year interning at Sioux Valley Hospital.

“I actually left SDSU last May,” Harer said. “This year, I’m at the hospital by 7 a.m., I go home at 4 p.m. and study at night. This year has been more like a job.”

It is a requirement of Harer’s program that she must spend a year at an accredited medical facility before she can graduate.

“It’s a year-long internship and we actually get trained in the lab,” Harer said.

Harer believes her experience as an intern has helped to prepare her for the next stage of her life and she has been offered a job at a Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The job offer was due directly to her internship at Sioux Valley.

“They offered us the jobs way back in the beginning of March, so they were basically holding the job for me until I graduated. It’s a job I really wanted,” she said.

Saying Goodbye

It’s not just the task of finding a job that daunts most seniors. Leaving their friends and family behind is also a big change for most of them.

Munroe has contemplated the future change just recently.

“I think one of the biggest things that has hit me, especially within this past week, is that come graduation on April 30, there’s so many friends that I’ve made that I will probably never see again,” Munroe said. “You spend four years with these people and you become friends with them. It just kind of hits me that we’re all going separate ways and chances are that I’ll probably never see them again.”

Bies believes that it’s going to take dedication in order to stay in touch with his friends.

“I have sort of a core group of friends. There’s about five of us and I don’t think it’ll be a problem keeping in contact with them,” Bies said. “Some of my college friends, I think it’s going to get harder and harder so I think we have to make a conscious effort to stay in contact. If you don’t try, it’s just not going to happen.”

With graduation just days away, most seniors are feeling a combination of anxiety, hope, happiness and reflection.

For some, including Catron, having a plan with zero uncertainty was more comfortable than going out into the unknown.

“When I was a senior in high school, I pretty much had the next four or five years planned out in my life, but now it’s just, ‘get out in the real world and get a job,’ ” Catron said. “I’d rather have it planned out.”

Others, like Munroe, have come to realize the misconceptions they had while in high school.

“I thought having a degree meant that it’ll be easy to find a job and get a car and money,” Munroe said. “It’s a lot harder now than when I was senior a in high school. I realize now that it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.”

Despite the mixture of emotions that she and her friends are facing, Kurtz, like most seniors, is ready to finish her college experience.

“It’s nice to feel like you finished all four years and you’ve finished your degree and you finished one goal and you’re able to set your standards higher again and reach for something else,” Kurtz said.

For Bies, though, the sense of accomplishment doesn’t mean as much as the respect that he will have as a college graduate.

“I’ve worked with a lot of professionals the last few summers and … the diploma was just a big gap that stood between everyone else and me,” Bies said. “I think it’s going to lend some more legitimacy and credence to the things I say. And I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to being on that next level.”

#1.885069:634261482.jpg:HGradJobAa.jpg:Some college graduates, rather than settling for a job that any high school student qualifies for, choose to go on to graduate school instead of entering the work force.: