It’s time to face the inevitable. As much as we all love Marist and all it offers (nothing tops a sunset over the Hudson with a Rossi’s sandwich in hand), we all must accept that Marist won’t be our home forever. Sad right? I sat down with Mary Kate Heaton ’16 to find out what life after Marist is really like.
HC: What did you study at Marist?
MKH: I majored in Communications with concentrations in both Public Relations and Advertising. I also minored in English Literature!
HC: Describe to us a bit of what your post-grad life has been like.
MKH: Post-grad life has certainly been an adjustment period, for me at least. I ended up moving back home because financially that was the best option for me. I want to eventually move to a big city but I want to do it once I have saved up a decent amount of money.
Being home and living in upstate New York full time again has been interesting. Over the summer it wasn’t too bad because I had not found a job yet and most of my friends were still around but once August hit it was weird. That’s the time of year that I would normally be getting ready to go back to school until I realized that I would not be returning to Marist anymore. For me, that’s when the reality of graduating had really set in.
It was also a challenge for me to find a job. The place where I live is not exactly a booming location for the PR industry and I started to feel dejected and stressed out about not having a job. I applied to the few jobs in my area that were in the field of Communications and I wasn’t having a lot of luck.
Finally, I was offered a position in marketing and ended up taking that job because I feared I wouldn’t find anything else plus I was concerned about having to start paying my student loans off.
Even though I don’t love my job, I feel like I finally have a better grasp of post-grad life. I’m more motivated to move out of my hometown now and follow my dreams of working in Public Relations or even Publishing. It took some time but after adjusting to not being in school anymore I realize that I can (mostly) do whatever I want with my life because of my college experience, so that’s been kind of a cool revelation for me.
HC: What do you miss most about Marist?
MKH: I say this all the time when I talk to my friends but one of the things I really miss the most is being just a short walk away from them. At Marist, I could just walk down the hall or across the Fulton courtyard to hang out with them to watch Fuller House on Netflix or meet up before going out for the night. When you’re at Marist you don’t realize how convenient and comforting it is to be on campus, in one central location, living with your friends until you’ve left (unless you’re one of the lucky few that rent an apartment with your besties or are in the same area). Now, we are all several miles (and states) apart and it takes some serious planning to see each other and it’s not very often, which is sad. It’s a very strange thing to go from being surrounded by the same people day in and day out for so long and then go months and months without seeing each other. Plus, once you start working full-time everyone is on their own schedules so it’s even hard to text each other to stay in touch sometimes.
HC: What would you say was the biggest change after graduating?
MKH: For me personally, it was adjusting to a new schedule. For four years, you get used to going to classes at various times throughout the week while also still having a lot of free time to do fun things. Now, I wake up, go to work from 9 to 6, then either go assist at my old dance studio or work out at the gym, and then I come home to go to bed only to wake up and do it all over again. It became really monotonous after a couple of months and I started looking forward to the weekends only because I knew I could rest and catch up on sleep. In college, I had so much time on my hands to do whatever I wanted and I had a lot of fun but now that I work everyday and have the stresses of being an “adult,” it’s been hard to maintain a social life. I now have to make a much more conscious effort to balance my work life with fun activities such as going to see a concert or planning a weekend getaway, which was something I never really worried about before.
HC: In which ways do you feel Marist has prepared you for life after college?
MKH: Honestly, as cliché as it may sound I think Marist did a fantastic job for preparing me for life with their academics. I feel that regardless of what your degree will be in, Marist provides so many opportunities to prepare you for the real world. For a communications student, it was things such as taking classes like Campaign Management or being a member of North Road Communications that really helped give me the education and experiences I needed that I could apply to use in my profession. I can’t tell you how many times an interviewer was impressed with a full-fledged campaign assignment that I had to do for a class or the fact that I was a part of a functioning, student-run PR firm. It’s not just communications either. From Fashion to Business, every department at Marist has something unique that students can partake in that will set them apart from their competition when applying for jobs. I feel like Marist has such a strong and innovative academic program that no matter what you want to do with your life there is something you can be a part of that will help you achieve your goals.
HC: What would your biggest piece of advice be for students about to graduate?
MKH: Do as much as you can. No matter if it’s going to an on-campus event or hopping on Metro-North to the city, take advantage of every opportunity that you have at your fingertips. Life goes by too quickly and you don’t want to enter the workforce constantly wishing you did all these things in college. You only get to experience your twenties once, so enjoy them and don’t feel like you always have to follow the conventional path. I know people who, instead of getting jobs right out of college, traveled to another country to teach English for the summer or went to work for Disney in their college program. You’ll have job opportunities waiting for you for the rest of your life but you won’t always be able to hop on a plane to see the world. That’s something I wish somebody would’ve told me when I was nearing graduation. I always thought I needed to get a job right after graduating and I realized I necessarily didn’t have to, which is why I wish I had taken more time for myself to explore and experience life. In the end, don’t let the stress of paying off student loans or worrying about what other people may think affect your decisions (that’s what I did and I regret it). It’s your life and you should be able to experience it however you want.