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Meet Cori, a New Grad Facing Life after College

Randi LuciusRandi Lucius (pictured) is an online marketing specialist here at Pongo Resume. She graduated in May 2008 with a BA in Communications from Westfield (MA) State College and joined us that August. In this post, Randi (now a two-year veteran of the working world) interviews her younger sister Cori, who graduated earlier this month from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst with a BS in Human Science and Nutrition. Cori shares her thoughts and fears as she embarks on her first full-time job search.

A year ago I wrote a post about the first anniversary of my college graduation.  This year, my younger sister Cori graduated from college and is entering the real world.  So I thought, what better way to get a new, updated perspective on post-college life than to interview her? Did she have the same lofty ideals that I'd had?

My sister Cori is almost 22. She just graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Science and Nutrition. Despite being siblings, we couldn’t be more different; she’s active and always on the go, living in the moment. Me? Not so much. But after speaking with her, I realized she and I share many of the same thoughts on life after college. Maybe she doesn’t feel the same about what type of life she’ll end up living, but she has many of the same fears and anxieties I felt upon entering the "real world."

Me: Do you feel prepared for the real world?
Cori: Yeah, I would think so. As much as anyone I guess.

Me: How do your friends feel about life after college? Optimistic? Scared?
Cori: I know they’re really optimistic about getting jobs, but they’re kind of scared about the whole 9-5 structured thing. It’s not the same environment that they’ve been in the last four years. The lifestyle change is what they’re scared about.

Me: And how do they compare to you?
Cori: I feel the same way, but the difference is that I have really high anxiety about finding a job. I’ve had a job since I was 14, whether the paycheck was good or not. Now I’m not sure if I’ll even get a job, let alone a paycheck. It’s nerve-wracking.

Me: Are you scared about the transition?
Cori: Yes! Of course! A lot of people want to graduate because they don’t have to do homework and take exams. Not me. I think that’s less stressful than working 9-5 and having people rely on you. My whole life is going to change; I won’t be able to sleep in late and I won’t be able to go out at night. It’s going to be a big wake-up call.

Me: What are your post-college plans?
Cori: Right away, I plan on getting a job. But I hope in the future I can go back to school to get my master's or get an internship so I can become an RD [Registered Dietitian].

Me: Did college prepare you for your post-college life?
Cori: College as a whole did, but not really the classes. They helped academically and helped me learn responsibilities and time management. Living independently, and my job and intern experiences, have helped me a whole lot more, though.

Me: How are you searching for jobs and what types of jobs are you looking for?
Cori: Since I’m in the health field, I’ve been looking on hospital career pages to see what’s open. I’ve used Craigslist a little bit, but the jobs aren’t that great. I’ve also been going through places where I've interned.  I’m looking for things related to my degree, but if I’m in the position where I don’t have a job and it’s been a few months, then I’ll take any full- or part-time job.

Me: What do you hope to make right out of college?
Cori: Around $20,000 to $30,000 a year. Starting salary for an RD is $40,000 or $50,000 a year, but I can’t go for those jobs until I become an RD, which I need to intern for. It’s hard to decide whether to get a job that doesn’t use my degree, or to intern for my RD. Some internships pay, but very few. Those internships are very competitive and you need to have a great GPA to get them. Almost every other internship you actually have to pay for, plus you work so much that you can’t get a part-time paying job. That’s extremely difficult when you’re trying to pay back student loans.

Me: Have you written your resume?
Cori: I first wrote it in my junior year; everyone has to write it junior year at Amherst. But I’ve since updated mine.

Me: What do you hope life after college will be like?
Cori: I hope life after college won't be as depressing as I think it will. This, of course, is all stemming from the fact that I just graduated and am facing one of the worst job markets ever. It also comes from the fact that every adult I've talked to about graduating tells me the same thing: "Don’t worry that the job market is bad right now, many people are in your shoes." Of course this makes me even more worried. So I'm hoping I can find a job where I love what I do and I don't have to change who I am. I also hope I can continue to experience new things and appreciate life while getting serious about the real world.

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