For so many high school students, college is the main topic of discussion at any family gathering, friendly reunion, and conversation with your guidance counselor. If you are between the ages of 16 and 18, congratulations! You have officially reached the threshold of continual collegiate discussion.
It seems as though the only questions that people are asking include, “Have you started thinking about college?”, “Do you know where you want to go?”, “What do you want study?”, “Is that a relevant degree for the work place?” and my personal favorite, “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?” The latter is probably slightly dramatic, as you really can’t predict the trajectory of your life, but the ideals and pressure are still very much there. It used to drive me crazy!
At 18, I believed I had so much of my life to live before graduating from college. I hadn’t even graduated from high school at the time, so that single day in 2017 when I would walk across that stage at St. Lawrence University, with my bachelor’s degree in hand, was beyond my comprehension. Now it's 2017, I’m 22, graduation is less than sixty days away, and that mind set that I so carelessly lived by when I was 18, seems distant and naïve. It goes by fast, too fast at times, so my first advice to you is; make the most of it and do not to fret if you don't have a set plan with what you want to do with your life after St. Lawrence.
I have lived, what I would consider, the best four years of my life, at a university that has provided me with lifelong friends, experiences that have shown right from wrong, and mentors that have laid a structural foundation for my continual drive to pursue a graduate degree. Its been an unforgettable experience, to say the least. Now, as I approach this new challenge, known as “adulting,” and brace myself to jump into a new chapter of my life, just as so many of you high school seniors are doing as you gear up for your college years, the questions that used to haunt me about my future plans have resurfaced and inserted themselves into nearly every conversation. This time, though, I am not stressed out, nor lost for words because the truth is, I actually have no concrete idea of what I want to do after graduation. I have no idea where I will be next year, in five years, in 10 years - but I still have a plan. It may be tentative, but it's a plan and the formation of this plan has been derived from the various career and student support resources that are offered at St. Lawrence. These resources - LINC Mentors, Shadow-a-Saint, Internships, and Fellowships, to name a few - are available through St. Lawrence University’s Career Services Office and have been designed to encourage students to pursue a career that makes them happy and sparks their academic and lifelong interests.
For myself and many people alike, the destination has always been medical school. Whether it would be osteopathic or allosteric, a career in medicine was always the plan but after experimenting with various connections and resources provided by St. Lawrence, I have opened my mind to the possibility of other careers that don't necessarily align with my original plan. I sought after internships, applied for LINC Mentor Programs, and took advantage of different Shadow-a-Saint experiences to get in contact with alumni who had recently graduated, or already established a successful career in my desired field. This allowed me to fully experience the field of study that I believed I wanted to pursue. For others at St. Lawrence, it has also led to summer jobs; internships beginning directly after their first year and sophomore year, and even connect graduating seniors with post-graduate job opportunities beginning months after Commencement.
To even further prepare you for life and careers after your time at St. Lawrence, Career Services hosts mock job interviews and aids in the creation and further elaboration of a job resume. However, these services are also helpful for the students, just as myself, who wish to pursue higher educational degrees such as an M.D., D.O., DPT., Ph.D, or a M.A. The internships and research fellowships through Career Services are extremely helpful in giving you a certain level of credibility when you apply to graduate programs. For example, those who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine, internships can add to your overall application into medical school and provide connections for recommendation letters and future career opportunities.
St. Lawrence is also equipped with the resources to help students, who wish to pursue graduate degrees through workshops that aid in writing your application and checklists that show you the required forms, scores and documents. They even provide mock job interviews and mock graduate school interviews. From personal experience, it's extremely helpful to be asked questions similar to ones you could be asked in the future to limit, and inhibit, nervousness or the feeling of being lost for words when the interview day finally comes.
Graduating from high school is exciting. You are preparing yourself for a new chapter in your life – college! I know it seems like your college graduation is so far in the future that it's practically irrelevant, but take it from me, your four years here go by fast and before you know it, you’re going to have start making decisions about what you want to do with your future. As of right now, it's okay not to know because there is still time. St. Lawrence is a tremendous place filled with numerous experiences that will push you and guide you in the direction of a potential career that you want to pursue. In the meantime, take advantage of all of the resources offered and get your feet wet! You never know where you will end up, but you might as well start exploring all of the possibilities.