The Inaugural Jump: Seniors look forward

Juggling capstone seminars, individual research and graduation requirements is already the norm for NYUAD’s class of 2014. Yet academic papers are only ...

Sep 14, 2013

Juggling capstone seminars, individual research and graduation requirements is already the norm for NYUAD’s class of 2014. Yet academic papers are only the beginning — more worrisome, for many, are the tottering stacks of graduate school, medical school and employment applications that stress the students facing graduation next May.
For Damla Gonullu, a senior planning to go straight to medical school, the challenges lie less in the looming application deadlines and more in the nuances of the English language.
Gonullu has a list of ideal medical schools that she plans to apply to, but is worried about her Medical College Admission Test score because she is a non-native English speaker. Gonullu is concerned that she may not perform as well as her native-speaker counterparts, and for this reason has chosen a few safety schools.
If she does not get accepted to medical school immediately after graduation, Gonullu plans to work for a year or two and then retake the test. She does, however, foresee similar problems in the sphere of employment.
“I’m really afraid, because I’m a non-native speaker and I feel like a lot of jobs that people do after college are writing-based,” Gonullu said.
One positive aspect of medical school applications is the early timing of the tests. Some students may be free to focus on capstone projects and final year of classes. However, this is not the case for all students.
Senior Meike Radler is already searching for graduate schools and balancing her capstone project with applications for both higher-level study and work.
“Some of the graduate schools don’t necessarily want people straight out of undergrad,” said Radler. “I do want to do something that’s intellectually stimulating and not necessarily in the corporate world.”
Radler has primarily used the internet as a job-search tool but is already planning to attend the NYUAD internship fair on Sept. 22. Radler also believes the Career Development Center will play a part in the elusive hunt for work.
“They’re definitely expanding in the CDC to help us find full-time jobs,” said Radler.
Senior Tom Taylor is unsure what field he wants to work in, but plans to remain in the Middle East, perhaps in Amman, Beirut or Istanbul. Ideally, he would like to work in a social justice organization but anticipates that this may have to occur in tandem with another source of employment.
“The prospect of getting paid for that kind of work here is not great,” said Taylor.
However, he is not overly concerned about the likelihood of acquiring work at this point. Taylor plans to form his decision based on the job market at the time of graduation.
Currently studying for the Graduate Record Examination, senior Dylan Maurer is also unsure of his future field of work.
“There’s not one thing that I’m looking at and saying, that’s what I want to do, that’s what I need to be doing,” said Maurer.
His options include the not-for-profit organization Teach for America and the Peace Corps, but he is mainly focused on the teaching sector. If all else fails, he plans to work on a farm in Europe for a year.
“I always wanted to go to France, so, you know, why not?” said Maurer.
Conversely, for senior Alejandra Pinto, finding a field she is deeply invested in is not the issue.
“I’m not worried about getting a job as in doing something I’m deeply passionate about, which has something to do with community service and promoting some kind of artistic expression,” said Pinto.
The problem lies in narrowing down her options. Pinto said the CDC has been helpful in assisting her with this process.
“[The CDC advised that] I had to scout throughout the globe [to find somewhere] where all my points of interest and background experiences would meet with a place I’d like to live in,” Pinto said.
In a school as diverse as NYUAD, possible employment destinations can be found on every corner of the globe. Yet some students prefer not to return to their home country, or at least not immediately.
Gonullu, originally from Turkey, fears reconciling her liberal personality with an increasingly conservative Turkish government. She does not plan to return home.
“The education we got here is very satisfying in many ways and then going back to Turkey would not be satisfying [after this],” said Gonullu.
Maurer is also unsure of where he will end up.
“I would entertain the notion of staying in the UAE,” he said. “I feel like [working in the UAE] would be a completely different experience than being a student here.”
On the other hand, Pinto is very open to returning to El Salvador, but only after she has accumulated more travel experience.
“I want to have different experiences so when I go back home I can provide a lot more to my community,” she said.
NYUAD’s first graduating class has high ambitions, including working in a nationally renowned surgery firm, facilitating social change or simply returning their experiences to a community back home.
It remains to be seen what exactly next May’s graduation ceremony will bring, but NYUAD’s inaugural class will set an impressive precedent.
Tessa Ayson is a contributing writer. Email her at
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