Kent State alumni impart wisdom to graduating seniors

Danie Minor

Saturday, Dec. 19 is the day upcoming graduates will remember for a lifetime. Graduation comes along with many emotions and these emotions often follow with the thought of “What does my future look like?”

Laura Andrews, the assistant director of marketing, said only about 5 percent of graduating seniors purchase a new graduate membership with the Kent State Alumni Association.

“I am not a part of the Alumni Association, but that is because I live so close to the school,” said Christina Urycki, a December 2014 graduate. “I think because I am still so young, I still have a lot of connections to Kent.”

Urycki said when she is older and missing a Kent State connection she will join the Alumni Association.

Lauren Kotmel, a 2011 graduate, is a member of the Kent State Alumni Association. For her, networking is most important.

In 2014, the Alumni Association named her the Outstanding New Professional during the 2014 Alumni Awards for the work she does for the city of Cleveland. Kotmel is currently the Development and Community Engagement Specialist for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

While attending Kent State, Kotmel studied abroad in Germany and Washington, D.C. Her greatest piece of advice for seniors who are about to graduate is to work hard and be nice, because they never know who they will sync up with along the way.

“Networking will get you far because finding a job right out of school does not happen overnight,” said Jessica Redding, a May 2015 graduate.

Urycki said she was able to receive her job with the Akron RubberDucks because of her internship she did while attending Kent State.

“I got lucky, I was hired by internship. My biggest piece of advice is to do internships,” Urycki said. “I know not all majors require (internships), but they really do open doors for you, even if it is just networking. The more networking you do, the more likely you will be able to find a job.”

Redding’s biggest piece of advice for upcoming graduates is to apply sooner for jobs. She said this was her biggest mistake last school year.

“I was so (lost) by enjoying my senior year that I did not put enough energy into applying for jobs,” Redding said.

She said upcoming graduates should not worry about knowing exactly what they want to do right after school just because there is pressure to find a job right after graduation.

“I would remind the graduates that humility is OK,” said Taylor Getz, an August 2015 graduate. “You are not going to have everything you want right out of school. You have a degree and that’s great, but it could be months to years before you get a job with that degree. Don’t be ashamed to take the help and guidance that is given to you.”

Getz graduated early from Kent State with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. In January 2016, Getz will be starting school again at Ursuline College in Cleveland for her second bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Kent State alumna Sarah Eaton also believes networking and internships are important for success after graduation, but she thinks not enough people talk about the social and emotional impact of transitioning from college to career.

“Oftentimes graduates also find themselves with less time to interact socially and with fewer people to spend their time with outside of work,” Eaton said. “It can leave grads feeling very lonely.”

Eaton’s advice to avoid this is to maintain a friend group and have a support system.

“When looking for a job, people want to talk to interesting people,” Kotmel said. “It is important to still do something you are passionate about.”

Kotmel said volunteering is a great way to help stand out against others who are applying for the same entry-level positions most are applying for.

According to the Huffington Post, 45 perfect of college graduates are living with their parents after they graduate from school.

Redding decided that it would be the best decision for her to move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York after graduation. She wanted to save money, but also wanted to figure out what was the right work path for her. 

“I would absolutely recommend (moving home after school) to others because it does not make sense to establish yourself in a city where your dream job might not exist,” Redding said.

Although Getz has only been out of school since August, she already started her path toward a positive post-graduate life. Getz knows nursing is the area of work she wants to go into, but did not feel it was the right decision for her to start during the fall semester.

“Don’t give up on the dreams and goals you’ve made for yourself if things aren’t going the way you had planned,” Getz said. “School is actually the easy part, and when that’s all said and done, and you have your diploma in hand, it feels like everything should be falling into place perfectly.”

Danie Minor is the alumni reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].