Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Four Years at the Mount

Senior Year

Two Years Experience

Jacqueline Quillen

(April, 2010) In my job-searching over the past month I have discovered a reoccurring message: the job market will not be your friend unless you have two years of experience. Sending a killer resume is not enough in today's economy. College grads need all the resources we can get to help us move forward. We have to rely on family, friends, professors, career counselors, acquaintances, and even strangers to help us in any way possible. The more networking connections support a resume, the better chance it has of making it to the top of the pile.

It seems like the best job opportunities result from internships because candidates with experience are obviously more qualified for a position than candidates looking to start fresh somewhere. Hiring an experienced candidate also means that companies don't have to train a new employee.

A fellow classmate and good friend recently landed a job with a company where he had served as an intern. He couldn't resist sharing his excitement. He entered my apartment with a held-back smile and said, "I have an announcement…I got a job!" When he spoke these words, he immediately broke into a victory dance and sang, "with benefits, oh yeah!" His audience cheered and applauded his performance and joined him in celebrating the exciting news.

While some seniors are getting accepted for jobs, grad school, or volunteer programs, others are still stressing with a million applications. Whether we are experiencing acceptances or rejections the great thing is that we are all together, as a class, supporting each other as we seek our goals.

I started March on an uphill, rocky road in the realm of post-graduation. The first week I was home for spring break when I had planned to cross out each and every task on a two-page to-do list. Instead I crossed out about a quarter of the tasks, if that. By the end of spring break I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. When my mother approached me the morning after a restless, three-hour nap instead of a good night's sleep, she asked, "Are you freaking out about life?" It didn't take long for the waterworks to start, but once in a while a minor break-down is just what we need to move forward with integrity.

When I returned to school the next week, I received my first rejection e-mail (only the acceptances are sent in letter-form). I had applied to an education-through-service program, called Alliance for Catholic Education. In this program individuals dedicate two years of teaching to an under-resourced Catholic school and work towards a master's degree in education during the summers at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The cost of graduate school is free for participants in exchange for the two years of service.

Let's be honest - no one likes a rejection e-mail - but I knew that my life was not going to end that very day. I allowed myself an hour of grief and then moved on, reminding myself to stay positive. I just wish I knew what sent my application to the rejection pile. Though it may be uncomfortable and awkward to be honest with a complete stranger, Admissions Counsels should tell a rejected applicant what stood in the way of their acceptance. The applicant should take the constructive criticism responsibly and make improvements effectively.

For the time-being I plan to move back home to Wilmington, Delaware, after graduation because it is financially impossible for me to support myself right now. I've been searching the College Central Network and other career-development websites for job-openings for teaching and writing opportunities that are close to home. Most job positions require a minimum of two-years experience, especially for teaching.

My B.A. in English qualifies me for writing positions, but tends to rule out many of the teaching positions available. My limited experience in the classroom also makes me less qualified for teaching than graduates with an education degree. However, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington does not automatically reject applicants who do not have a B.S. in Education or teacher certification prior to employment. So I am applying for available positions with the Diocese, hoping to return to one of my hometown Catholic schools.

If the stars align right I could end up at my beloved Alma Mater, Ursuline Academy, where my younger sister will attend seventh grade this coming fall. If I am offered employment with the Diocese I am required to complete my teacher certification within three years. I still want to pursue graduate school whether I have my teacher certification or not in order to receive training to become a reading or learning specialist.

I am nervous to leave the Mount where I can easily find guidance at any time by taking a two-minute walk to the Career Center or any one of my professors' offices. Thankfully, I can always count on the Mount as a support system for me even after I graduate. I'm also very lucky to have a large support system of family and friends who are willing to help whenever they can.

Though I have never been a huge fan of Delaware, I'm happy that all of my parents' talk about moving to Pennsylvania never turned into action. Mr. Peddrick, who used to let me ride my bike up and down his driveway, lives a few houses up the street from mine. He has always taken an interest in my academic and career goals, supporting and guiding me as a mentor.

Now that I am working towards the next step in life and Mr. Peddrick has retired, he has taken me under his wing to help me in whatever ways he can. As former Vice President of Human Resources at Comcast, Mr. Peddrick has great networking resources to help me look in the right direction for employment opportunities. Having a mentor like Mr. Peddrick is very helpful and comforting in stressful situations like job-searching.

I still have a number of things posted on my to-do list in addition to finishing up my last semester of undergraduate school with strong grades. This time is exciting and nerve-wracking, but definitely passing by way too fast. The days feel so long, but the weeks seem too short. With this in mind I try to take advantage of what every day has to offer.

Read past editions of Jacqueline Quillen's Four Years at the Mount