USI alumni faring differently since graduation

Teddi Rausch accepted an internship in Indianapolis last month and was told to look for a place to live. The next day the company told her the position had been offered to someone else because she wasn’t moving fast enough.

Rausch, who graduated with a degree in international studies in December, said instead of interning at the LegisGroup where she would be under the guidance of professional lobbyists, she is now working at what she describes as a “boring” job.

“I’m working at the Evansville Country Club trying to save up money because I don’t have a bunch, and I need to start paying my (student loan) interest off,” she said. “I haven’t completely given up. I’m just kind of taking a little bit of time to actually chill out.”

The unexpected turn Rausch’s life took in the span of two days could serve as a cautionary tale for future college graduates who expect to have a job waiting for them after graduation.

“I thought I was set and ready to go and pursue my dreams to get to work in the Statehouse and get to work directly with politicians,” Rausch said. “And I guess that’s where you find heartbreak sometimes is when you have to rethink your whole life when you didn’t think you would have to. No matter how much time you’ve put into it.”

Even though some of her sorority sisters from Alpha Sigma Tau found jobs in their fields right after college, Rausch said she avoids comparing herself to them because it would cause her to be mad at herself for not being on the same pace as other people.

Rausch said she doesn’t feel like the university prepared her for a job in her field, but she gives credit to Career Services for giving her the interviewing skills necessary to be hired for a job outside of her field of study.

Rausch said if she could give any advice to current undergrads, it would be for them to plan ahead and to make multiple plans because she feels that’s where she went wrong in the time leading up to graduation.

“I think before you graduate you need to have plans a, b, c, d, e,” Rausch said. “I feel like that’s where I lacked because everything fell [through], and I was hesitant to do something else because I was thinking  ‘what’s going on’ and I had to take time to collect.”

Though Rausch’s life since graduation hasn’t gone the way she had hoped, that doesn’t mean all USI alumni are faring the same way. Some, like Nick Mathis, don’t have to worry about the next few letters in their plans.

Mathis, who graduated with a degree in engineering in 2015, said he doesn’t have any complaints since graduation. He’s married, and he has a house and a job as a process engineer at a Ft. Wayne company called Colwell which makes paint chips for hardware stores.

The whole process of finding a fulltime job in his field took him around six weeks, once he started looking. Until he found a job, he spent his time working at the campus bookstore and Azzip Pizza, Mathis said.

Mathis said he began searching for a job by applying online, but none of the jobs he applied for ever materialized. After receiving no replies from the places he applied to online, he started applying in person so that the employers would be able to associate his face with his resume.

“It turns out that a few places I did apply to online didn’t really check their online services very often. So they had already filled the positions by the time they got back to me,” Mathis said. “I actually got this job by knocking on the door and seeing if they had anything.”

Mathis acknowledged his experience is uncommon since it can take some people over a year to find a job in their field, especially when they’re looking for their dream job right after college and won’t settle for anything less.

Even though Mathis has a job in his field, he said if he could have done anything differently while in school, he would have studied harder.

“I had one semester that I called the black hole semester. I got too involved with extracurriculars along with everything else. I slacked off on all the bookwork that semester and I ended up having to retake a few of the classes,” Mathis said. “It was a good lesson, though. Life is about balance you have to make sure you do what you need to first and focus on the fun stuff later.”