More footfall on the road less traveled

Students entering the shaky job market roll the dice with their futures by taking risks and choosing alternative paths.

After some temp work and time spent traveling, she bought a one-way ticket to New York City and has spent the last week couch surfing while searching for a job.

Lindsey Saletta, a communications major and public relations minor who graduated this past January, spent time producing events for Fashion Week LA after graduation but now works four part-time jobs while pursuing her dream career producing high end events in New York City.

With commencement just around the corner, graduating students are taking non-traditional jobs such as teaching abroad, modeling or joining the Peace Corps. They are embracing spontaneity not simply because of the bad job market but because the lack of attachments and responsibilities at this age makes it the opportune time to take chances, Saletta said.

“I’ve sent out 200 resumes and I have some killer experience, and I’m getting nothing,” Saletta said. “Swallow some pride, take a couple part-time jobs and try to support yourself while you look for that dream job.”

The choice to take on multiple and alternative jobs shows that graduates are great products of their education, said Barbara Hubert, director of the Career Development Center.

“We are all individuals – there isn’t one right way to do it after college,” Hubert said. “Jobs don’t even exist now that some Chapman graduates will eventually create and then fill.”

Senior Nicholas Wiesnet, film production major with an emphasis in cinematography, will be flying to Ethiopia shortly after graduation to shoot a documentary and will then teach cinematography at the Seoul Institute of the Arts in South Korea.

Wiesnet accepted this job because he thinks it is a great place to learn and he will be among some of his favorite directors of photography in Korea.

“I get to be abroad for half of a year at a time in my life when it’s actually possible – without kids or marriage,” Wiesnet said.

Wiesnet’s parents are both producers in the film industry and have encouraged his creativity. They do not see his choice to teach in Korea as a departure from his career path but as a way to reinforce what he has learned, said his mother Vicki Dunakin.

“He loves experiencing foreign cultures and fell in love with the Korean filmmakers when he did an exchange there,” she said. “The teaching position is not an opportunity he would have this early in his career in the states.”

Nicole Sapak, senior peace studies major, plans on joining the Peace Corps after graduation and has applied to organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

“The world seems to be changing drastically by the day,” Sapak said. “I believe that this generation is going to have to make some big changes in [its] choices before things get better in the economy and job market.”

Saletta, who soft-launched her clothing line LCS Designs last June, said she has made some poor decisions during her career search but thinks giving her dream a shot is important, even if she fails.

“After a series of somewhat disastrous events, it was decided I didn’t know enough about the fashion industry to jump into it just yet,” she said. “I’m halfway through a new collection. I’m just not planning to go into production anytime soon.”

Although LCS designs is on the back burner for now, she is still attempting to break into one of the most difficult industries.

“I would encourage everyone to grab a big handful of courage, lace up [her] boots and dive into following [her] dreams,” she said.

Hubert thinks graduates have a level of freedom at this age to go out and try different things while they develop their skills.

“I would encourage students to think more broadly,” Hubert said. “A bachelor’s degree is a foundation, but you have to get other experience as well that will make you more competitive in the market.”

Although Saletta and Wiesnet do not have set career paths for the future, they said they are willing to lead spontaneous lives until their initial dreams are met.

“I’ll just pack my bags and see where the wind blows me,” Wiesnet said.

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