In 2016 at the early age 20, Mary Wallace graduated college, leaving the rest of her peers to continue on with schooling but what many didn’t know is that she’d still be here. In an interview w/ her, she discusses the struggles of her work/life transition as a grad and how her future career might involve moving to another country:
1. As a recent graduate can you explain your initial feelings after graduating? (Prepared, nervous, anxious?)
“I did not feel prepared at all. I did not know what I was gonna do. I just took whatever jobs I could get. Didn’t really have any jobs set up besides the tutoring one. Mostly I was just nervous and scared.”
2. How has it been outside of school, socially? Have you had to adjust in any way (i,e. transitioning from living in dorms, paying bills/loans off, etc.)
Yeah, the loan thing wasn’t too bad but there are so many more bills. As soon as I graduated I bought a car, I got my license, I upgraded my phone. There are a lot of money things that you have to look out for: health insurance, if you have a car note–. Graduating was really different, social wise because all my friends were still back in college and in the same college mindset. Even though I’m the same age as them they don’t think to invite me anywhere. They’re still in college so they can just go out to eat at 1 o’clock in the morning, they can go out at night to Walmart and I can’t because at night I work.
“I feel like I lost a lot of friends from graduating and so I’ve had to make new friends.”
I graduated when I was 20 so it’s hard [to make friends at work] because my coworkers are older, some are in their 40s and have families and things.
3. What’s one of the greatest challenges you’ve had with establishing yourself in the work world?
So I tutored [at Mount Mary University] for two years and through that I was offered a professional tutoring job for the summer after I graduated. Then I tutored for the next semester and now I’m tutoring this semester. For me, I want to do some more private tutoring on my own, which has been kind of difficult. To find clients, and just to find the time.With my tutoring schedule, I’m tutoring here and there and it’s like there’s no time to. The tutoring doesn’t pay enough and I don’t get a lot of hours so I’m just trying to fit in another job which has been the hardest. The job I do want, I just need more experience to do it.
4. So I’d found out before you were getting a teaching license to teach English in Korea. Why and how did you come about deciding to do this?
When I studied abroad [at Konkuk University] the fall of my senior year, in Korea. When I had to come back I didn’t want to come back. So I was like, I’m gonna come back some time. As soon as I can, I’m gonna try and come back. And the easiest way to go to Korea is to teach English. After graduating, while tutoring in the Summer/Fall semester I realized that I enjoy teaching, especially teaching math. I like to teach older ages, so I decided to start taking the steps to go to Korea because then I can be there like I wanna be and teach. That’s sort of my passion now, teaching. It’s the best of both worlds.
I really wasn’t sure how to go about doing it but my friend Kari Metts who was the ESL tutor at Mount Mary said she was going to be taking her course to get her certificate to teach English abroad I said, ‘What, you’re doing it? Well maybe I should do it!’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah!’ And it said we get $50 off if we both took it . I figured ‘You need to do this. You need to start moving–doing what you really want to do.’ So, I signed up for the course. It was Kari Metts, who actually pushed me to do it.
“She said, ‘Every time you talk to me about Korea you light up!’”
I think I’d wanna be there for at least 2 years. I’m hoping that after 2 years there I’ll pick up the language so that I can go teach math in high school and maybe even college.
5. Anything you enjoy doing right now/fav things to do?
I really like to travel and see the mountains. Lately I’m a big movie and TV show person. Currently the new one called 13 Reasons Why. That and Stranger Things; can’t wait for that to come out [season 2]. I’m also into thrillers and scary movies or just renting random moves from MMU library.
I hope this can be of some help to those graduates out there who are also in the same positions or you students who may feel like you’re alone in feeling nervous & unprepared. Just like Mary is, go with the flow, make memories, and experience what you can while you can.
See you in the comments,