1) During your time at Pomona, where did you see yourself a few years out from college? How did your path differ from this and what most surprised you?
I thought I would be working at a museum in some sort of leadership capacity—curatorial or otherwise. For some reason, I had a clearer picture of attending graduate school than what my career would look like. (This is perhaps due to the fact that I graduated in 2009 when the job market was dire.) I did work at several museums. I did complete a graduate program. Unpredictably, those experiences helped me to realize that I did not have the stomach for the gallery world, nor the patience for bureaucratic museums. In my case, my distaste for certain opportunities has guided me most.
2) Any regrets - things you feel you didn't make the most of but should have during your time in Claremont?
I'm one of those crazy people who doesn't believe in regrets.
3) Do you think the liberal arts aspect of your education helped you after college? How so?
Undoubtedly. I was able to speak to a range of topics, which helped me network and make new friends. I was able to write and speak confidently in an environment that prized those attributes. The quality of my education certainly helped me earn acceptance to and thrive in graduate school.
4) What would be your advice to a student who is really unsure about what they want to do after college?
- Visualize. What do you want your day to look like? What time do you wake up? Where do you live? What do you wear to work? How do you get to work? Do you have a desk? What’s on it? What do you do during the day? Take notes, and options will start to jump out out you.
- Make a list the jobs you know you’d find loathsome. Don’t do those, even if someone else wants you to.
- Think about what kind of environment you want to be in, and what kind of schedule you want. Do you want to only be around young people? Do you really want a mentor? Do you like to work alone or prefer a group? Do you want to be in a city or are you OK with an office park somewhere? Do you want a job that clearly starts at 9am and ends at 5pm, or do you want more flexibility?
- Start with what interests you, but also recognize what kinds of things you’re ok to have as a hobby/interest versus a career.
- Baby steps. No one has life figured out at 22ish.
5) What was your experience of transitioning from college to the outside world? What would be your advice for students to handle this?
I loved Pomona but I was very excited to move on—to have my own apartment and not eat in a dining hall. Also, I really wanted to know what life was going to be like without homework! It is strange to go from having the flexible schedule of a student to a daytime job. Allow yourself to adjust. Ease into it. Experiment.
I did miss the level of engaging discussion, creativity and camaraderie I found at Pomona. Luckily, I was able to find that kind of community in various art communities. Don't expect to make friends in a day, and prepare yourself that keeping in touch with Pomona friends will be difficult. For me, though, it was critical in negotiating who I was becoming. It anchored me.