A little under a year ago, the class of 2022 said goodbye to their days of strolling down Memorial Walk, spending hours in Fairchild-Martindale Library and riding the Packer Express.
From navigating the job market to adjusting to life outside the classroom, 2022 Lehigh alumni have thought about the trajectory of their lives since donning their caps and gowns.
Anders Seline, ‘22, works in technology consulting in the Financial Services Office of Ernst & Young.
Originally from central Ohio, Seline said he moved to New York after college, accompanied by two roommates who also attended Lehigh.
Seline said moving away from home presented some new challenges for him, as he found the often-overlooked transition from college to the workforce to be a huge change.
He said becoming an “actual adult” was daunting.
“The most interesting part is once you’re in high school, or in college, you have this bubble that allows you to make friends or join clubs within these organizations within the school that you’re in,” Seline said.
He said not having these outlets to easily meet people feels like a safety net was removed from under him.
Rebecca Landau, ‘22, said she felt similarly about the security the experience of being a college student provides.
“One of the great things about Lehigh is you really get to know so many people, but it also kind of allows you to create a bubble and shelter yourself,” Landau said. “Moving away pushed me out of my comfort zone and was a great way to make a distinction between my college self and my post-college self.”
Seline said it’s normal to feel out of place, but creating a good support network allows people to connect with others and share experiences.
To combat this issue and reduce some of the challenges of an adult lifestyle, Seline said trying new things is important.
“You need to put yourself out there a little bit and try to join organizations,” Seline said. “Whether that is something as simple as joining a gym, doing an activity or volunteering, it helps to not feel alone.”
When preparing to start her career, Landau said reading “The Defining Decade” by Meg Jay helped her get into the mindset of being a part of the working world.
Landau said she moved to Bethesda, Maryland, upon graduating and started working as an e-commerce and customer experience coordinator.
She said gaining full autonomy over her life was one of the most exciting parts about leaving college.
“Going into my job, I knew broader concepts for my education– but for most of what you do they’re going to teach you and you start to learn as you go,” Landau said.
During her undergraduate time at Lehigh, Landau earned a sociology degree with a minor in marketing, which she said was applicable to many jobs. She said it is okay to be sad about graduating and saying goodbye to a part of yourself you’ve developed for four years.
Landau said everyone expects the first year in the real world to be amazing and explorative, but it is normal for it to not be the reality for most people.
“Mourning that version of yourself allows you to recreate yourself, but I think being sad is okay and doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong,” Landau said.
Clare Fonstein, ‘22, said, like any other adjustment period, the transition into the workforce takes time. She said she moved to Texas to start writing for the Houston Chronicle after graduation, taking years of experience on The Brown & White with her.
She said despite how scary one may think navigating the workforce is, there are many people who are in the same situation.
“I remember at the end of my senior year, I was very stressed about all of the next steps,” Fonstein said. “I would say just give yourself time and try to maintain your confidence that everything will work out.”