Oh The Places Spartans Will Go

May 27, 2016
Here I'm pictured (second from right) with my roommates. Photo by Michelle Haapala.

Here I'm pictured (second from right) with my roommates. Photo by Michelle Haapala.

On my first day at Michigan State University, I was an English Secondary Education major. I can vividly recall my mother saying: “As long as you don’t drop education and graduate unemployed with an English degree.”

Sorry, mom.

I’m proud of to have graduated from Michigan State with a degree in English. Despite the low regard my generation has for the humanities and a degree in the liberal arts, I believe my education has prepared me for a career much better that other degrees would have. 

I’ve found that I have a unique edge over others applying for positions in the marketing industry, and I have had a lot of success applying for entry-level positions. I just haven’t found what I’m looking for yet—but that’s okay.

Right now, I’m working two great positions on Michigan State’s campus that won’t kick me out until mid-June. I have an apartment lease in East Lansing that doesn’t end until August, and friends are still around to get lunch with. While I sometimes feel pressure to jump into a 9-to-5 job, I often ask myself, “What’s the rush?” Everyone’s post-grad path takes different twists and turns.

Take education majors, for example. Students like Gabby Groce have a full year of student teaching and graduate-level coursework that follow walking across the stage in May. It isn’t until they complete this fifth year that they can enter the work force, leaving a limbo in the summer between graduation and student teaching. 

Groce poses for graduation photos.

Groce poses for graduation photos.

Groce, a native of Detroit, said she sees her summer in limbo as an opportunity to gain more teaching experience through the MSU-Detroit Public Schools Urban Immersion program. This program gives Spartans the opportunity to teach credit recovery courses (you may think of this as “summer school”) in Detroit, and now Lansing as well. Although she said she’s excited about the opportunity, Groce doesn’t believe that all students approaching graduation should take the same course of action:

“If you have the time to go home or travel, take it,” Groce advised. “We worked our butts off for four (or five or six) years, and I think that well needed time for rest and relaxation has been earned. I know you may be ready to take on the world, but the world can wait!”

Spending some time traveling is exactly what my friend Rikki McClelland plans to do. A child development graduate from Lapeer, Mich., McClelland is leaving for Hawaii in June to pursue an eight-week internship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Upon returning, McClelland hopes to find work with a non-profit in Michigan.

Although taking a break is great, some Spartans have chosen to keep their momentum going and jump into the work force. At the end of June, supply chain management graduate Alyssa Kuzatko will be moving to St. Joseph, Mich., where she will start work as a sourcing specialist associate at Whirlpool Corporation.

 Kuzatko said it was bittersweet to turn that page immediately after graduation. But she’s looking forward to starting her career.

“For four years, or maybe more, all you know is Michigan State and the exciting times attached with the place,” she shared, “but when it is time to pack up and move on to the next chapter, what really goes through your mind is, ‘I’m ready!’”

At the end of the day, there is no right and wrong way to start the rest of your life. Although I’m looking forward to starting a career and hopefully moving to downtown Detroit next fall, I’m grateful to be spending my summer unwinding from my accomplishments at Michigan State, trying out my new role as a Spartan alum, and positioning myself to jump into the real world with force.

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