Non-traditional post graduation plans

Seniors pursue paths outside of the usual 9 to 5 options

As the 2017 spring semester draws to an end, University of San Diego seniors are eagerly awaiting the start of summer and anticipating the next step that lies just beyond graduation.

While some students will seek full-time jobs or internships, others will follow less traditional paths for their employment.

Senior Hunter Levy is devoting the summer to volunteering on a farm in Tennessee, certainly a change of pace compared to the beaches of San Diego.

“I’m excited to experience a new part of the country and live in a place where I’ve never been with people I care a lot about,” Levy said. “I was drawn to the freedom of living on a big plot of land and being outdoors on a big plot of land in a tent.”

This opportunity came about through a program called Work Away, a hospitality service that offers homestays to volunteers who work for their hosts in exchange for housing and food. He heard about Work Away through a friend that he met at summer camp while on a bike tour from Indiana to San Diego.

Levy shared his excitement for his summer plans on the farm and anticipated that his experience will be a positive one.

“I’m hoping to have personal growth, teach myself to build things, and craft better,” Levy said. “I’m going to be building a slack line, learn to use farming equipment better, and be taught non-traditional skills.”

This volunteering opportunity will be a hands-on experience, a change of pace from classroom learning.

In September, Levy will join the Peace Corps in Morocco. He said that he became interested in pursuing this position through his experiences abroad working with kids.

“It gave me motivation to follow a non-traditional path to find work that I found more meaningful as opposed to making as much money as I could,” Levy said.

Giving back to others is certainly important to many students at USD, and Levy has several opportunities to serve his communities.

Senior Katie Quinn will be staying in San Diego this summer.

Quinn was accepted to the Fulbright program and will travel to Malaysia in late December.  Before she leaves, Quinn said she plans to enjoy San Diego and spend her time enjoying the Pacific Ocean.

“For the summer, I am going to work as a kayak tour guide in La Jolla,” Quinn said. “So basically, I’m going to play in the ocean for some cash money. I’m also doing this one consulting project for a commercial real estate firm, but that’s less ‘spunky,’ and it definitely won’t tone my arms.”

Quinn credited a friend for informing her of the kayak position, and her honors thesis adviser brought her attention to the consulting project. She said she is eager to begin her summer and take a break from the pressures of academia.

“I’m excited because I’m admittedly somewhat of a type-A person,” Quinn said. “I make a checklist for virtually everyday of my life and am always trying to achieve top marks or secure some prestigious internship, but this summer, I’m doing something that’s just purely enjoyable with pretty fantastic people [as] co-workers.”

Quinn explained that taking time for herself and spending time with co-workers should make for an enjoyable summer job.

Quinn will spend about a year in Malaysia with the Fulbright program before returning to the U.S. She will be doing an ETA, or English Teaching Assistantship, to improve foreign students’ English language abilities.

“I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to be hurled into this entirely novel environment and culture,” Quinn said. “It’s going to be an abrupt learning curve, but I can’t wait.”

Senior Madeline Ball also has unconventional post graduation plans. Ball will be traveling this July more than 6,000 miles to Wellington, New Zealand.

Ball shared that her search for jobs in New Zealand came after she bought a spontaneous one-way plane ticket to New Zealand.

“Once I made the decision to live in New Zealand, nothing could stop me,” Ball said.

After she bought the plane ticket, Ball came across a unique opportunity searching through New Zealand job sites.

Ball originally planned to work for a ski resort as a ski instructor. When the plan did not work out as planned, she was determined to challenge herself to do something different. Ball decided to work in sales for an art supplier. She said that she still has plans to travel and ski all over New Zealand.

Ball stated that she is truly using everything USD has given her to branch out internationally.

“I like leaving so much to the imagination and just going with what my heart needs, which is to be uncomfortable and travel more,” Ball said. “I am most excited to do something so vastly different in a place I am unfamiliar with. I like the idea that at any moment I could meet someone that could change the trajectory of my time spent there.”

These graduating seniors are pursuing their passions through novel and unique experiences after graduation.

The summer after graduation is often filled with many changes and challenges for graduating seniors. That being said, it will also be their chance to navigate life after college, armed with a well-earned degree.

Victoria Zielinski, Contributor