I have mentioned before—several times actually—that I love hearing from former students. I never cease to be fascinated by the choices they make as they pursue life after college. Today, we feature a guest post from Mary Skahan, Class of 2009. Mary has been on a voyage of self-discovery and has made a definite decision for her next chapter.
I graduated from Saint Michael’s in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. The education I received at Saint Michael’s gave me both the confidence and intellect to explore my career options while traveling around the world. I did not follow the conventional post-graduation plan as many of my peers immediately did engaging in 9 to 5 jobs, Americorp positions, graduate programs and so on.
Since graduation, I have spent the last two years of my life traveling both domestically and internationally, overcoming cultural boundaries and engaging in different societies. I have walked the streets of some of the poorest, most desolate communities there are, as well as flourished in the vibrant city of San Francisco where I resided for nine months. While I was always searching for “real” job opportunities, I found that the real life experience I gained from traveling to 17 different countries and living in a large metropolitan city was much more rewarding allowing me to find my passion and formulate my next step post-college.
The most beautiful driving force in life is finding one’s purpose, instigating change and transforming the lives of others. During the tough economic times, I did find it relatively hard to find purposeful work, so I paid the bills by working not-so glamorous jobs while engaging in volunteer activities everywhere I went. I learned the most through these volunteer opportunities both domestically and abroad. From recreating a Thanksgiving meal in Bulgaria in November to assisting in trail reparations in the Golden Gate Park, I recognized my passion to serve others. It was this realization that has guided me to pursue a Master in Public Policy and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service in Portland, Maine. I will focus my studies on the organizational management of non-profits with the dream of one day starting my own.
The education I received from the Political Science Department at Saint Michael’s taught me to analyze contemporary issues in our society today and their direct effect on the world we live in. It opened my eyes to the ongoing need for people looking to effectively and sustainably better the world. For me, Saint Michael’s stands as the building block that instigated my desire to be a positive influence in society.