Life After Graduation: Expanding my Options

Most Princeton students are worried about similar things. We covet internships as gateways to jobs after graduation. We seldom forget that graduate and professional school applications loom. We see post-grad options as neatly divided among four categories: corporate careers, graduate/professional degrees, fellowships, and (for a few) nonprofit work.

After five semesters at Princeton, this mentality has rubbed off on me. But my time studying in New Zealand has changed the way I see my options after graduation.

Two weeks ago, during my Easter break, I embarked on the Milford Walk, arguably New Zealand’s most famous hike. My favorite part of the four-day, three-night walk was the people I met along the way — Their experiences expanded what I saw as possible post-Princeton pathways. I met recent graduates from the United States, Israel, France, and Australia who were working abroad. Two Vanderbilt graduates worked in the hotel industry in Queenstown. A young woman from Pennsylvania took time to pursue art while working in the North Island’s tourism industry. A group of men who had finished serving in the Israeli Defense Force took a break before resuming life at home. Many of them moved to New Zealand without a set plan and used this work-travel time as a respite from college and professional life, where they could start to realize what kinds of careers really excited them.

Here I am with two travel buddies (in green and red) with our new Australian friend on the hike!
Here I am with two travel buddies (in green and red) with our new Australian friend on the hike! 

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The Fellowship Frenzy

Many graduate fellowships have deadlines in early fall!
Many graduate fellowships have deadlines in early fall!

This fall has been an extremely hectic one for me- in addition to taking the typical Princeton course load of 4 classes, I’m also trying to balance starting my senior thesis research, working my various on-campus jobs, and applying to grad school. Recently, however, a new challenge has emerged: preparing applications for graduate fellowships. It came as a surprise to me that these applications are due well before any of my actual graduate school applications. Luckily, I’ve been able to find a few resources to help out with the fellowship application process, especially for research fellowships like the NSF.  I’m sharing my fellowship resources and strategies here to help anyone else who anticipates riding the senior year struggle bus while applying for fellowships.

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