We can't stay in the Bowdoin Bubble forever. In 115 days, the class of 2005 will face the "real world," and while some seniors are feeling pressure to figure out their next step, others aren't too concerned about their immediate future. Others still are already employed for the fall.
Conversations with a few seniors reflect that, at the start of their last semester at Bowdoin, goals and aspirations are as varied as the students themselves.
For Rachel Tavel '05, being around other students who are also transitioning to the working world both provides relief and breeds anxiety.
"It's kind of comforting to see it all happening around you at all different paces, but it's also a little nerve-wracking because it kind of makes you feel, 'Well, why don't I?' Some people are really sure of what they want to do and some people aren't. I'm one of the people who just has no idea," she said.
Tavel is applying for communications jobs in her hometown of New York City, but isn't thinking too far into the future. "I kind of think of next year as the next thing to do, not the final thing to do, and I'm not thinking beyond one or two years," she said.
Geordie MacLeod '05 isn't thinking of long-term plans, either. "I know I don't want to go to graduate school right away, but my plans barely extend beyond next year. I do plan on going to the World Cup [in 2006]," he said.
A French major, MacLeod said he would like to live in France after graduation, either with Bowdoin's teaching assistant program or on his own. For MacLeod, there's not enough time to dramatically alter his experience at Bowdoin, so he feels he can relax.
"[Senior year] is so much different from [our first year] because you have all these expectations coming in and now it doesn't matter whether or not they were met because you're almost done. It's nice because you're not going to substantially change what your Bowdoin experience was, so you can just relax, make the best of it, and enjoy yourself while you can," he said.
Emily Cochrane '05 also said she's not too stressed about next year. She has yet to hear about an application she submitted last fall for a fellowship, so, for the time being, she can enjoy her last semester. "Now it's okay because I'm waiting," she said.
Though some seniors may be just starting their job search, Jason Slocum '05 has been employed for next year since December. One of three new Bowdoin employees recently hired b Deloitte Consulting in Boston, Slocum said he had been away from campus at least three days a week on interviews since Halloween—a schedule that placed a lot of stress on his academic and social life.
"It was really tough to manage, especially after being abroad last year, coming back to campus, wanting to see my friends, and also balancing that with crew and trying to do something for next year. So it was a really hectic fall and I think that's going to make the spring semester all that much better," he said.
While Slocum said being at Bowdoin for another year would be too much, he also isn't anxious to graduate. "I want to just stretch these couple months out and do a few things here that I never got to do: going out with the Outing Club, exploring the Maine coast a bit more," he said.
Desneige Hallbert '05, whose thoughts about post-graduation have "changed dramatically every week," does have a few regrets—not taking a film class, for one. But she also looks forward to being free from the burden of work. "I'm really sick of doing all the homework and reading, but I am going to miss classes and being able to sit in and listen and learn," she said.
Though graduating might be a scary prospect for some, MacLeod said he's eager to consider his options. "Now it's a really fun time—it's a blank slate. You're totally free to reinvent. It's like you're playing Sims with your own life," he said.