‘What are you doing after graduation?’

Megan Mandel, a senior environmental science major, will be working for the Disney College Program before going to get her master's degree in education. Photo by Caroline McNally.

Megan Mandel, senior environmental science major, will be working for the Disney College Program before going to get her master’s degree in education. Photo by Caroline McNally.

Asking some seniors what they are doing after graduation is enough to send them into a panic. Luckily, seniors like Megan Mandel have got it figured out.

After graduating on May 21, life for Mandel is going to change drastically.

“I got a job working for Disney through the Disney College Program, so I’ll be working the attractions for the next year,” the senior environmental science major said. “After that, I want to go home to Oregon and get my master’s in education.”

Mandel is one of the many Chapman seniors who will be graduating this May and deciding what is next – grad school, getting a job or taking a year off.

“I’m graduating early and I feel maybe not quite prepared for the real world, that’s kind of why I’m doing Disney,” Mandel said. “But I am excited to jump into adult life and see what happens.”

Tatum Williams, a senior kinesiology major, is hoping to audition as a dancer for Disneyland before applying for grad school. Photo by Chloé Arrouye.

Tatum Williams, senior kinesiology major, is hoping to audition as a dancer for Disneyland before applying for grad school. Photo by Chloé Arrouye.

Senior kinesiology major Tatum Williams is also planning on working for The Walt Disney Co. after graduation.

“I’m hoping to audition for Disneyland and become a dancer for them. It’s a passion that I have had for a long time,” Williams said. “Then I’m planning on applying for physical therapy school in the coming fall.”

Williams is excited for new adventures, but said there’s certain things she’ll miss about college.

“I have grown accustomed to having a community around me and having it change so quickly will be hard,” Williams said. “I feel pretty prepared for the real world, but I know once I’m out there on my own, it will be a bit of a shell-shock.”

Daniel Jessee III, a senior computer science major, echoed the sentiment of feeling unprepared to leave college.

Daniel Jessee III, a senior computer science major, is currently working as a part-time computer science teacher and is applying to jobs for after graduation. Photo by Chloé Arrouye.

Daniel Jessee III, senior computer science major, is currently working as a part-time computer science teacher and is applying to jobs for after graduation. Photo by Chloé Arrouye.

“There’s definitely pressure to have plans after college, because why else are you here,” Jessee said. “What else are you going to talk about to people? It’s always, ‘What’re you doing after college?’ You can’t say nothing – you have to have a plan. I think most people just make it up as they go. They want to do something specific, but in reality, you see who offers you a job.”

Working part-time now as a computer teacher at a K-12 school, Jessee currently doesn’t have an exact plan for what he wants to do after graduation, but said he knows he’ll figure it out eventually.

“I’m going to stay part-time until I find a better job,” Jessee said. I want to be a software developer and eventually be the manager of a bunch of people who do what I used to do and oversee them.”

Jessee’s biggest worry is not being happy with wherever he ends up.

“I’m afraid I’ll move to Michigan or something, have an awesome job and then I’m just going to hate the cold and be homesick all the time,” Jessee said. “Maybe I’ll love the cold, I have no idea, but that’s what I’m afraid of — that I’ll move somewhere and really miss Southern California.”

Alan Brooks, managing director of Alton Morgan, a job-recruiting firm in Orange County, said students should never be discouraged from the job search.

Nicole Beck, a senior forensics science major, will be moving to Washington, D.C. for graduate school. After receiving her master's degree, she hopes to work for a national crime agency like the FBI or CIA. Photo by Rachel Gossen.

Nicole Beck, senior forensic science major, will be moving to Washington, D.C. for graduate school. After receiving her master’s degree, she hopes to work for a national crime agency like the FBI or CIA. Photo by Rachel Gossen.

“It’s obviously very hard in the current economic climate for many new graduates to find work because companies want to hire employees with experience, but the best way to get a job is to be persistent,” Brooks said.

Senior forensics science major Nicole Beck is ready to move away and have a big change in her life.

“In August I’ll be moving to Washington, D.C. for the grad program at George Washington University,” Beck said. “I’m most excited about exploring a new place. Also for the graduate program itself – a lot the learning in forensics doesn’t become really fun until the specificity of classes in graduate school.”

After completing her master’s, Beck is hoping to work for a national crime agency like the FBI or CIA.

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