The Real World: Boston College Edition

Each year in May, Boston College releases a fresh crop of newly minted graduates into “the real world.” Within six months of graduation, 96 percent of graduating seniors will be working full-time or pursuing graduate studies, postgraduate internships or fellowships, or volunteering in service programs.While this figure should be reassuring to soon-to-be grads, many experience a moderate amount of anxiety in the months preceding their departure from the Heights. “Graduating, with all the changes that accompany it, can be liberating for some and stressful for others,” said Joe DuPont, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Career Services at the Boston College Career Center.”Each student is unique, so it would be difficult to say they are all stressed about a certain thing. At the Career Center, some of the more common factors we see students worrying about are moving home, securing employment before graduation, pursuing a line of work or study that family and others in their support network may not fully appreciate, finances, fear of failure, and relocation to new environments where they need to meet new colleagues and make new friends.”

Fear not, seniors–we spoke to six alumni from the BC Class of 2016 to hear a little about their transition into post-grad life, and found out that the “real world” might not be so bad after all.


Molly Nuell, Lynch School of Education

Post-grad path: Education & Social Change Master’s Student at University of Miami; substitute teacher

On graduating: Even having a plan [to go to grad school], I was still very anxious. By the end of senior year I began to feel regret that I hadn’t “put myself out there” enough throughout my time at BC, which definitely contributed to it. But since graduation, I’ve been trying to keep up with the values I learned at BC–introspection, reflection, and honesty.


Phil Backus, Carroll School of Management

Post-grad path: Investment Banking Analyst at Nomura in New York, NY

On graduating: During senior week I did feel sad, but knew I was ready to start the next part of my life. It always take a separation from something you take for granted to really make you understand how special it was.

Expectation vs. reality: I thought living with friends would college would provide a similar environment as I had at school, but our different schedules makes it pretty hard to spend time together unless we are really intentional about making plans.


Mary Yuengert, Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences

Post-grad path: Jesuit Volunteer Corps Member in Los Angeles, CA

Expectation vs. reality: I thought college had formed me into a complete person, and that on graduation day I was who I was going to be for the rest of my life. Reality: I’ve grown and changed more this year than I did in my four years at college. You learn what your real priorities, values, and beliefs are, and who will stick around in your life.


Patrick Moran, Carroll School of Management

Post-grad path: Customer Experience Applications Consultant at Oracle in Burlington, MA

Expectation vs. reality: Expectation: that I’d be forever sad about no longer being in college. Reality: the real world is not scary!

On the transition: I was amazed at how easy it was to adjust. Being in a routine has been a great thing for me in terms of diet, health, and enjoyment of the free time that I do have. Plus, it only took about two weeks at my corporate job to feel like I’d been doing it for years.


Ryan Hickson, Connell School of Nursing

Post-grad path: Registered Nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA

On the transition: Overall, I’ve liked the independence and freedom. One thing I didn’t expect to be a difficulty is having free time and not knowing what to do with it! I’m in the process of applying for volunteer placements, and will hopefully be adding that to my plate soon.


Tim Coogan, Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences

Post-grad path: Incoming Marketing Specialist at Deloitte in Boston, MA

Best advice: Be tactful with your next step after BC. You’ve invested a lot in yourself, so make your next move worth it. Plenty of jobs open up after graduation, so don’t be afraid to take time to wait for the right one for you.

*Note: article would run in a student publication (The Gavel or The Heights) during the weeks preceding graduation (late April/early May).


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