2011: The Afterlife

Another summer has come and gone. You may have survived an internship, gone on a vacation, or just savored the easy life.  Now, once again, you turn your steps towards CMC.  After a perfect summer of no Econ homework, no textbooks, and no tests, it can be easy to feel anxious headed back to the land of playing hard and working hard.  So why do we return to Camp Claremont, besides for 6:01 and Snack? In economic terms, CMC is an investment; this is time we put in with the hope that it will pay off in later life. But just how well does this investment pay off in the short run?  I spoke with some recent CMC alumni to see where they are, what they are doing, and how they feel CMC may have shaped their lives thus far. In case anyone was worried by the ever-present stereotype, graduates of CMC do go into more fields than accounting or consulting. Of the recent alumni I spoke with, only one was doing work in finance.  A TV talent agency assistant, a Foreign Service Officer, and a lobbyist are just some of the roles that CMCers from the class of 2011 are filling in the world.  No matter what kind of work you find yourself doing, the most important thing is to make sure you are doing something that you enjoy, said Malini Sen '11.  It doesn’t have to be your dream job; after all, your first job is not going to be your last, but it should be something fulfilling, or you may find yourself struggling with a new environment and a job that makes you miserable. 

And after graduation, the environment is very new.  Stephanie Haffner '11 said that everything about life after school was new and exciting: new job, new city, and no homework.  But some of these changes could be difficult as well. For example, there’s no North Quad in the real world: “I no longer live a stone’s throw away from every single one of my friends,” said Stephanie, citing this as one of the biggest challenges to adapting to life after CMC.  Jyo Shankar '11 said that, for her, “The biggest change from CMC to the real world is that you go from designing your own schedule to running on somebody else’s.” Chances are, your boss won't care if you are a morning person or whether you prefer your classes or schedule spaced out or need to take a nap midday.  After the excitement of a new schedule wears off, you may feel like you got the latest registration time and got stuck with all 8am classes.

However, even with these challenges, starting work and living on one’s own is full of excitement and is an ultimate goal for most students after graduation.  Stephanie feels that the opportunities to go abroad in the summer and during the year that CMC provided her were instrumental in her securing a job as a European Policy researcher for the Eurasia Institute.  Malini’s connection between school and her job was even more direct: She found her job posting through CMC connections.  Once she had begun to interview for the job, Malini said, her experience at the Ath and interacting with professors on a daily basis helped set her apart from the rest of the applicant pool.  “Coming from CMC, you have had exposure to situations in which you have to conduct yourself in a professional manner, and employers are impressed,” she told me.

Asher Landay '11 wants to become a part of this same network that helped Malini find her job after CMC.  As a film buff passionate about going into the entertainment industry, Asher naturally gravitated towards USC and UCLA when he was applying to school.  However, he chose to come to CMC even though he knew he would have few contacts in his field.  Asher does not regret his decision: “Ultimately, I’m so grateful for the skills I acquired while at CMC, and my lifelong goal is to give back to the school by helping other aspiring students get their big break into the entertainment industry.” 

Jyo also feels that CMC teaches important lessons for the “real world.” Through interactions with professors, Jyo has learned to interact professionally with people and “ask the right questions… without a fear of sounding stupid.” However, the encouraging nature of CMC can be a little misguiding in the real world. Malini said that, when she was searching for a job, she felt let down by how long the process took.  “CMC makes it seem like it’s all going to be ok, and it’s not right away. And that’s ok.” After having been so supported at CMC, she found that she had to readjust her expectations once she began her transition to finding a job.

Asher had a similar experience after graduation.  “I didn’t get a job until the end of August so I basically spent 3 months creating my own film school curriculum while interviewing for jobs.”  This was not only stressful, but difficult socially as well.  “Needless to say, when you don’t have a job, its hard to establish a close group of friends,” he said.  With his new job in the entertainment industry in LA, however, this is happily no longer the case.

Although CMC can’t guarantee graduates a job instantly or help people find a new friend group, the skills learned and friendships formed at Camp Claremont carry over into the real world, as well.  Even when we must put on the cap and gown of responsibility and venture out into the unknown, and often challenging, world, we will never be far from our CMC home.