Nervous excitement is sweeping over the class of 2016.
With graduation rapidly approaching, seniors are putting the final touches on their theses, preparing for graduate school and securing jobs for the fall. The post-graduate world awaits and seniors are deciding to take risks and go completely out of their comfort zones by moving to new cities, traveling to new regions of the world or creating their own businesses.
Krista Stefkovic, ’16, is a psychology major with a minor in health, medicine and society. Stefkovic has taken advantage of the breadth of courses Lehigh has to offer by immersing herself in classes like Introduction to Acting and Entrepreneurship in order to improve upon her public speaking skills and challenge her creative mind — aspects of the professional world that she thinks will be invaluable to her.
As a young entrepreneur with many passions, Stefkovic plans on taking next year to develop her many business and product ideas. She will work at a property management office, where she will also develop her interest in real estate. But at the same time, she will be doing her best to make her dreams into reality.
Stefkovic said her dad has inspired her entrepreneurial mind.
“He went to college, majored in marketing, and just started his own business,” Stefkovic explained. “He has been very successful after that, so he’s been my inspiration. I always call him with all of my ideas.”
As someone who is getting her personal training certificate within the next week, one of Stefkovic’s plans after graduation includes starting a business that combines fitness and group therapy, encouraging people to use fitness as an outlet. Another dream of hers is to start her own restaurant after a few years of securing herself in the business world.
“There are too many things that I’m interested in,” she said. “I was going to go to grad school but then I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to go for . . . So now I’m just trying to get experience in a couple of different areas.”
Hannah St. Lifer, ’16, a cognitive science major with a minor in computer science and some background in graphic design, is moving to Seattle to work as a designer for Microsoft.
St. Lifer took a leave of absence during her junior year to work as a designer and develop an app at Microsoft and will now be working there full time. She is taking a risk by picking up and moving across the country, away from her family and friends.
St. Lifer made it clear there is nothing holding her back from beginning her life by going out of her comfort zone. She said she doesn’t want to live her life thinking, “What if?”
“I think it’s time to move on, and I think its time to do something different and out of my comfort zone, rather than staying with the same people,” St. Lifer said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I hadn’t found a job that I really love and a company that I really love.”
Katherine MacLachlan, ’16, a global studies major with minors in health, medicine and society and Spanish, plans to bring her philanthropic and risk-taking mind to Camasca, Honduras, for a year to help teachers at a bilingual school while also participating in side projects such as developing a vaccination program and working with a women’s empowerment program to reduce teenage pregnancy rates.
“I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school eventually but I wanted some real world experience before I did that. I wanted some time to challenge myself, work on my Spanish skills, and to make sure international public health was a path I wanted to go down,” MacLachlan said.
As scary as it is to go to a completely different region of the world away from family and friends, MacLachlan embraces the idea of having a year to herself and doesn’t try to play it safe.
“I want to be able to be secure and exactly who I am before my career, when I have to put who I am to the test,” she said.
Peter Kostakos, ’16, an architecture major, shares MacLachlan’s nomadic plans. He plans on working for a contractor over the summer to save up to move from his hometown in Boston, all the way out West. Kostakos will travel to Nepal for three weeks after graduation, where he plans to trek through the Khumbu region to climb Island Peak. After hearing about this region from his family and friends, Kostakos is ready to explore a new chapter in his life.
“I think I’m ready and I think I’ve gotten everything out of Lehigh,” he said.