By Luke Gair
When thinking about life after Sewanee, one presumably imagines the daunting aspects that accompany life in the “real world,” whether it’s finding a new place to live or securing a steady job. Robert Beeland (C’18) reminisced, stating “long behind me are the days of hopping on my bike and walking into my classroom.”
A more metropolitan lifestyle means hour-long commutes, and of course, no McClurg Dining Hall. Beeland noted that this means most meals come from his own kitchen: “I’ve found cooking to be a relaxing evening ritual, though, and I’ve had fun learning new recipes.”
Although it has been hardly a year since Commencement for the class of 2018, the 407 graduates have already begun molding their liberal arts degrees into a variety of successful careers; Ph.D. programs, teaching fellowships, and governmental jobs are only a few on the list of impressive destinations released in a recent report by the Office of Career and Leadership Development.
The release notes that “of the 400 reached, 98.3% are employed, in graduate [or] professional school, in the military, or participating in a fellowship or service commitment within six months of graduation.” It additionally states that of the 400 students that reported back to the Office, 302 have been hired for full-time jobs and internships.
Madison Bunderson (C’18) made her way to the Yale Child Study Center, where she works as a postgraduate associate at the Before and After Baby Lab. She noted how although the Center has several “currently active” projects, “[her] group looks at the changes that occur at the levels of brain, mind, and behavior during the pregnancy and postpartum period.”
The liberal arts degree, multifaceted and invariably effectual in the workplace, has certainly gone on to positively impact her work. Drawing on her undergraduate experience of taking the occasional course in which she was unfamiliar with the subject, this versatility lead Bunderson to “argue that this sort of flexibility and ability to take on unknowns is a really essential part of navigating any job, graduate program, or other path that people pursue after graduation.”
In the same vein, Beeland mentioned that using critical thinking and writing skills learned in the classroom at Sewanee in his own work today reminds him “what [he] loved about Sewanee: the opportunity to dissect and write about topics creatively rigorously.”
Moving on to the work world certainly proves to be an exciting prospect for most, but Bunderson noted that she certainly misses life on the Domain, adding that “Sewanee is a place that intimately fosters connection… I could walk around this city for an entire day and not have a conversation with single person, and that would be perfectly common and normal.” With a larger environment like New Haven, the genuine connections commonly made on our own campus are a little trickier to attain as well.
Beeland, who works as a paralegal at a civil litigation firm in Atlanta, called to this when mentioning how “insular the Sewanee community is.” He went on to add that he has “tried to bring the passing hello with me, but strangers are less inclined to exchange pleasantries than Sewanee might have had me think.”
After completing four formative years on the Domain, self-reflection is likely a feature that greets recent alumni. Beeland emphasized how important it is to go after opportunities one might be interested in, and when that time comes, “dive in head-first and see where it takes you.”
Bunderson highlighted that when thinking back to her time in Sewanee, “I know friends who didn’t graduate in four years, friends who never interned, friends who had five internships, friends who found careers with their major, friends who changed courses of study for graduate school or their jobs.”
“All of them are doing fine,” she continued, “and not one of them arrived at their current place in the same way as someone else.”