Seven semesters down, one to go

Brittany Wasko

The road to graduation is often strewn with stresses and obstacles. Here’s how three seniors managed to push past it all and finish their degrees in four years.

Christiana Antwi-Obimpeh, senior accounting and finance major, is most worried about finally working in a real job market. Even though Antwi-Obimpeh already has a job lined up in the fall, she says she’s still worried about missing friends and the college

Credit: Ron Soltys

David Maniet expects to spend at least 70 hours a week completing work in an architecture studio. Julie White knows that she is responsible for juggling her classwork, fraternity, lacrosse and job on a daily basis. And Christiana Antwi-Obimpeh realizes that she has fewer than four months left of being a college student.

These three seniors are in the process of completing their final semester at Kent State before graduating in May. From the beginning of their freshman years, they have dedicated and managed their time to complete their degrees at Kent State in four years. Although all three have different daily schedules and plans following graduation, they do share the common feelings of being a stressed senior.

Building the future

For Maniet, an architecture major, his stress comes from the graduate school applications he’s completing for the fall.

“I’m actually looking to apply here at Kent for the grad school education,” he said. “It’s about two years including a second summer. I’m looking to do a dual master’s degree — a master of architecture and master of urban design.”

The past several semesters have not been easy for Maniet. His major requires a lot of dedication and time spent in the architecture studios, he said.

“When it comes down to finals week, we spend solid days in there and don’t see our dorms,” he said. “All-nighters are a part of architecture.”

Not only is Maniet involved in the classroom, but he is also the technology chair for the College of Architecture Student Union. With this position, he maintains an e-mail system for the architecture students and faculty. Maniet also plans to work in the architectural print room located in the studios later this semester.

To maintain his work and minimize stress, Maniet has his own system of organization.

“I’m aware of what’s on my syllabus,” he said. “I make a calendar of projects, tests and papers to remember what’s coming up.”

Achieving success within a major is a proud feeling, and Maniet said he is certainly satisfied with his choice of architecture.

“It’s a good architecture program,” he said. “The collaborative studio and the feel between all the people in the program is a special thing that some other colleges don’t really have.”

Although his architecture work is time-consuming and sometimes difficult, all of his dedication will pay off at school in the fall.

“I feel confident. I’m going to be stressed, but I’m not worried,” he said. “I believe in what I’ve done, and I’ve done well.”

Marketing herself

For marketing major Julie White, her senior stress comes from juggling many responsibilities and knowing that job searching is quickly approaching.

“In the back of your mind you’re thinking about where you’re going to be working once you graduate, what your life’s going to be like, and if you don’t find a job, then what do you do?” she said. “Behind all that schoolwork you have that thought of a job.”

As president of Delta Sigma Pi, a member of the club lacrosse team and gymnastics coach at her work in Twinsburg, White has her share of responsibilities.

“Being the president of the fraternity, I don’t really have set jobs, so that makes it easier,” she said. “Just making sure I have everything laid out, I know when I need to get things done.”

White originally started out as a sports management major but quickly found that marketing was a better choice for her, she said.

“I found out there was a new curriculum for the marketing department, so I thought it was a good opportunity because you get to work with real companies, and it turned out to be awesome,” she said.

After seven semesters at Kent, White said she hopes her dedication will help her succeed in the workforce.

“I hope I didn’t take all these positions for nothing, but I don’t know, we’ll see,” she said. “I’ve definitely learned a lot, a lot of leadership skills. Starting out, I never thought I’d be the president of this fraternity.”

With a busy schedule like White’s, organization is essential for maintaining stress.

“I make sure I have everything written down somewhere all in one place so I know what’s due and when tests are,” she said. “If you’re not organized, then I don’t know how you’re getting everything done or remembering everything.”

White said she would love to work in marketing, advertising or event-planning for the Cleveland Cavaliers or Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I would do anything for one interview,” she said. “That’s all I need.”

‘Accounting’ down the days

The stress as a senior for Christiana Antwi-Obimpeh differs somewhat from White’s. What this accounting and finance major is worried about is that she will not be a student anymore, but will be working in the real world in September.

“Probably the thing that stresses me out the most is the fact that next fall I will not be coming back to Kent State,” she said. “I will be working 40 plus hours a week, being an actual adult, living on your own, paying rent, paying bills.”

Antwi-Obimpeh said she knows she’s going to miss the college life.

“I’m not going to be with my friends,” she said. “I’m not going to be sleeping in and going to class.”

However, Antwi-Obimpeh said she was fortunate enough to receive a job offer from Ernst & Young, an accounting firm with branches in Cleveland and Akron, where she interned last summer and will work in auditing beginning in September.

The downside for Antwi-Obimpeh’s transition into the workforce is that she will not only be away from friends, but family as well.

“Even when I was in college, I would go home regularly,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll go home, but it’s not that I will go home to sleep in my own bed.”

Antwi-Obimpeh used to be very involved on campus with a job and a fraternity, but she decided to lighten her schedule this semester.

“After I did my internship, it was very much downhill,” she said. “When I came back, I was like, ‘I really need to finish this degree.’ I can just study and have classes and have fun my last year.”

Looking before the leap

Like Maniet and White, Antwi-Obimpeh was also able to finish her class requirements in four years. She said she has been able to manage her stress for the past seven semesters in her own way.

“In my most stressful times ever I would just go home, and I would do what I could from home,” she said. “Plus usually I talk it out with my mom; she helps me put it all into perspective.”

Antwi-Obimpeh said she also finds comfort in organization and time management.

“I’m a little anal-retentive,” she said. “I’m a huge lover of the personal schedule; I write everything down.”

As far as her major goes, Antwi-Obimpeh finds it has advantages.

“What I probably enjoy most is the fact that there will be so much opportunity throughout the years,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of really great friends. I think it’s that whole mindset – we all think alike.”

As a combined group of successful students, Maniet, White and Antwi-Obimpeh know what it takes to graduate in four years.

Academic adviser Bruce E. Mitchell Jr. said he believes seniors should identify their main goals before stepping into the real world.

“When you really think about reality, there’s a certain level of proudness and feelings of accomplishment for having attained something that you worked so long for,” he said.

Mitchell suggests that students write down all available options and opportunities.

“Begin to take self-inventory and sit down and think and actually write out where you want to see yourself,” he said.

Mitchell believes that students should not settle for less in the real world and should show initiative for the future.

“Hold on to your fork,” he said. “Because the dessert is coming.”

Contact student life reporter Brittany Wasko at [email protected].