This article is the first in a Life&Style series which will focus on a different 5C senior each week. As the semester marches steadily towards May, we hope to reveal the changing emotions and efforts of the senior class in planning their future, and the possibilities, questions, and plans which await them after graduation.
With less than 100 days until graduation, seniors all over the 5Cs are feeling the pressure to finalize their post-college futures. Yet Scripps senior Riley Grime shows that uncertainty is no cause for panic. Though she is not set in her plans, she knows that options are always open.
During her freshman year, Grime thought graduate school was in her future. However, as her four years progressed, she felt increasingly detached to that idea, realizing that graduate school might not always be the most logical step for everyone. She plans to explore her long-term plans through one to two years of travel and volunteer experience.
Grime’s interest in politics and international relations began in high school, so her decision to pursue these topics as a major was never a question. The next four years are a little less clear-cut.
“Being here just broadens your horizons so much and makes you even more uncertain of what you want to do post-graduation,” Grime said.
This feeling of uncertainty can be good, allowing students the ability to consider multiple career options and not become locked into one mindset. Even without definite long-term plans, however, graduating seniors can still pursue valuable projects in the short term.
Grime has several prospects lined up to help her explore and further define her career direction. She is a finalist for the Watson Fellowship, a one-year nationally recognized grant for graduating seniors to conduct independent research outside the United States. If she is selected, she will be one of about 40 graduating seniors chosen across the country to receive $25,000 for research. Grime plans to study community radio stations in East Africa and India, a research interest that was sparked by her junior year abroad in Kenya.
Grime is considering some AmeriCorps positions as well, which would help her decide whether or not she wants to work within the United States. She is looking into the Vista program, which allows AmeriCorps volunteers to work for a non-profit and get a living stipend. The work would range from tutoring to teaching after school programs to working with the incarcerated.
Grime admits that there is a feeling of anxiety among the senior class, especially for those entering the workforce in less-than-favorable economic times. However, Grime seems optimistic: she is prepared to do whatever she has to do to get where she wants to be career-wise, and knows that things will turn out just fine. It seems natural to her that this next year will be a time of self-discovery.
“It’s pretty hard not to [take time for exploration] now. To me it was just a no-brainer to take some time off, yet still be working,” Grime said.
This reflects a growing trend among college graduates: taking a period of time off for a gap year filled with travel or volunteering. Many of Grime’s friends are pursuing similar gap-year programs, such as Teach for America.
Grime is living proof that it is not only possible, but highly probable, that graduating seniors will not have their lives figured out by graduation. And she, as well as many other seniors, show us that they—and we—will be just fine.