Life After the Diploma: The Reality of the Job Life After Graduation, Part One

“One plan is never a secure measure to take for preparing for one’s life after graduation. There must be several because in these tiring economic times nothing is certain”, said Ardijana Gojani, a senior majoring in political science whose set to graduate in May. She, along with most seniors has set their minds as to what they’ll be doing once receiving their diploma. However, will it lead them to a successful career?

In May 2009, Ali Asif, a fellow political science and history major who described his experience in the university as “different, fun, and challenging”, graduated from Pace. He currently finds himself working for the Yonkers Public School system as an assistant administrator.

“It’s a wonderful job. I didn’t think I would have worked for the public school system, but that was the last option for me to pick up.”

While in Pace, Asif stated how wanted to work for the Department of State. “I was very sure when I was going to graduate I would have had that job in my hand. I was thinking I was going to get very good internships in my junior and senior year. I had those kinds of hopes, and it really stayed in my mind.”

Asif never received an internship during his time in Pace and points responsibility towards Pace and the Cooperative Education (Co-op) and Career Services.

“I relied a lot on my academic excellence and thought as an honors student with a GPA of 3.8 or 3.9, I would have gotten something. They didn’t guide me properly. If one has a goal, they should help you take those steps…they didn’t help me follow those steps,” said Asif, who shares the same sentiments as fellow 2009 graduate Jonathon Lentine.

According to Lentine, “Pace was completely and utterly useless. I’ve gone to Co-op and Career Services. [They] gave me a few of those skills and aptitude tests, showed me their website and said “goodbye”. No help for actually finding a job or even an internship.”

He added on how the advisors didn’t do anything to point him towards graduate school or a career.

Lentine had his sights set on a graduate assistantship position to help pay for grad school, “or find a full time job somewhere”. Although he wasn’t sure on what to pursue after graduating, he said, “I’ve always been inclined towards starting my own business, [but] that may be panning out now.”

He added the he understood how the economy may have taken its role to not getting what he had originally hoped for and at the moment doesn’t have a particular career in mind

“I think Pace lacks guidance,” said Asif. “I think that’s the problem.

“Where do you really want to guide your students? Are they making the right choices?” asks Asif to the advisors and counselors at Pace. “Students want to do so many things in the same time but there should be someone to help. Take more responsibility, it’s not about money anymore; it’s about someone’s life. There is a lot of people jumping into graduate school because they’re afraid to get a job, are they making the right choice? Or should they go ahead and get a job? It’s very risky. If they did, some students wouldn’t be working as a bartender or in a public school or in a different profession they didn’t originally had in mind. I’m very disappointed at Pace.”

Asif explains on his assumption on why he may not have received the help from Pace, stating “Pace lacks networking. It’s a great business school and [the Lubin School of Business] networking is good. All my friends [in Lubin] got an internship. They have much better opportunities than other majors to get a job…I don’t think Dyson [College of Arts and Sciences] has the same capabilities as Lubin. It lacks it.”

Current Lubin student Claristela Cuduco, a senior majoring in international management, only has two months before graduating to decide on a career.

“I’m not even sure if I want to do international law [anymore] as I now know the possibilities of the job and [don’t want to] be miserable”, said Cuduco.

Despite what seems to be an upcoming bump in the road, Cuduco doesn’t share the same opinion as Asif and Lentine, as Career Services has helped her and previously got her an internship.

During her sophomore year, and through Career Services, Cuduco landed a job with BMT Commodity Corporation, which according to the BMT official website they are “a diversified international merchant with principal emphasis on crude, semi-manufactured, and fully manufactured raw materials for industry.”

“I hated [the job]” said Cuduco, “I worked for a commodities company where they basically sat me down and told me that I had to sell wood to Spain. Literally wood, which included all types of American wood.”

The job could not have come at a worse time as it came during the housing recession that affected both the United States and Spain.

“I told them that there’s a housing recession in Spain, and they’re not going to buy wood. I shouldn’t have accepted the job especially because I knew this.”

The international management student revealed that she was eventually fired from the job but doesn’t place blame on Career Services for the experience and stating how they helped her a lot.

When asked if there is anything Career Services can do to improve on any basis, Cuduco replied that she doesn’t know.

“It’s all on the student I think. I don’t think Career Services has to do anything to do with what your decision is. If you want to go out there to get a job, they’re there to assist you. I feel like people who had negative experiences are really people who didn’t take advantage of [Career Service’s] opportunities.”

Cuduco’s advice to students who are finding a hard time with Career Services is “that there is a really bad time in the [job] market, and they have to be patient. You have to put your own effort and make contacts and talk to people.”

Gojani, a Dyson student considers her experience at Pace as successful, credits Pace and the Model United Nations course on expanding her networks within’ the Pace community and beyond. She has involved herself in activities such as Pi Gamma Mu and is a Fulbright candidate which is a program from the U.S. Department of State and “is the flagship international educational exchange program…designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries, chosen for academic merit and leadership potential,” according to the Fulbright official website.

“When I began Pace, I had aspirations to immediately begin in law school after graduation. However, Dr. [Gregory] Julian, my academic advisor, showed me that there were more opportunities than just showing up to every class and working hard.”

Julian introduced Gojani to the Fulbright Program and currently waits to receive a final acceptance letter from the government of Albania where she plans to spend a year studying and return to New York in September 2011.

For Gojani, she has more than one plan set after graduating: “My first is a final acceptance to Fulbright, plan B is law school and plan C is graduate school.”

In regards to finding a job: “I had looked into finding a job [for] the summer of my sophomore year and worked with Co-op and Career Services to fix my resume, however, I had no luck finding a job that summer.” Gojani went on a job search the following year where she successfully landed a job, “however not through career services,” she noted.

Although Career Services may not have successfully helped Gojani with a job, she does credit them for their other services. “[Career Services] helped me perfect my resume which is an imperative aspect of the interview process. They also help prepare a mock interview and provided me with links to job openings.”

Gojani states that Pace and Career Services can’t always promise they’ll find students a job or an internship. “I’m not sure how much more Career Services can do at this point. It’s up to the student to decide what they want and what is possible during this current economic situation.”

Next week’s Paw Print issue will feature the final part of this article featuring an interview with the Executive Director of the Cooperative Education and Career Services, Jody Queen-Hubert.

For part two, click here.

Published in March 2010 for The Paw Print.