As our false early spring turns into real spring, I am sure that college seniors across the country are outwardly excited. However, as ready as they may be for the end of classes and the fun of senior spring, some seniors are stressed out about their “real lives” beginning in May or June.
I was in those shoes only a few years ago. In college, I had loved my time mentoring with SWSG and other chances I had to work with youth. When I thought about a post-grad job, I didn’t really think about being able to continue that kind of work. When people think “college graduate,” they think serious and boring and sitting in an office all day—I knew that wasn’t my cup of tea.
But how does someone start looking for a job in the out-of-school-time sector? Is there a way to build on relationships you create in SWSG to work full-time post-graduation?
The answer is definitely yes. There are jobs working in after-school and youth programs, you just have to know where to look. Programs like the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship and AmeriCorps are a great way to get started. (Totally selfish plug: I’m hiring Mass Promise Fellows! Apply to work at Viet-AID!).
I still keep in touch with many of the amazing women who were mentors with me when I did SWSG. Now, they are spread out across the country. I am very impressed that like me, they have been able to maintain their relationships working with youth in their post-grad years:
- One of my old co-mentors is working at Citizen Schools, tutoring middle school students in Roxbury.
- Another is in medical school, studying to become a pediatrician.
- A third is in New York, working as a paralegal and volunteering in Harlem as a girls softball coach on the weekends.
So, my message to graduating seniors is this: don’t give up on working with youth just because you’re joining us in the real world. It is totally possible to continue following your passion and still have enough money to pay the rent. We want smart, strong young women (and men) to come join us in our work with youth. Reach out to people like me and tell us you’re interested. If that’s what you want to do, start looking today and I bet you’ll be able to find a way to do it!