One month: that’s all the time left between now and graduation. Some graduates will pursue full-time jobs or further their educations, while others pave their own paths.
These paths range from helping the community to climbing the corporate ladder. For a peek into the plethora of post-graduate plans, three class of 2015 students gave a glimpse of what their lives will be like beyond the ibis-covered campus.
People say the real world follows graduation, but for communications major Lainey Meiri, travels in Europe and Israel await.
After graduating in May, Meiri plans to visit Europe with friends and family. Her excursion will begin in Greece, followed by a Mediterranean cruise through the Grecian islands and Italy.
From there, she will move to Israel, where she will teach English to schoolchildren for a year or “possibly two.” The experience will come full circle when Meiri returns to the United States for law school.
“I definitely recommend anyone who’s going to some sort of post-undergraduate education to take time off and get an experience they can’t get while in school,” she said.
Unlike some of her fellow graduates, Meiri is graduating after three years at the University of Miami. Down a fourth year, she was unable to fit a chance to study abroad.
“I’m really excited to get an abroad experience,” she said. “I love Israel. I’ve been there twice before, and I’ve always wanted to go back.”
While looking for post-graduation options, her only requirement was a spot in Israel. The teaching program definitely provided this. Housing near Tel Aviv and flight costs are covered, and she’ll receive a monthly stipend.
“I didn’t care very much about what I’d be doing,” Meiri said. “I cared more that I’d just be there.”
Meiri’s performance during the application process, which included interviews and essays, won her the chance to visit her dream destination.
“I think my interviewers saw in me a genuine love for Israel, a level of energy that would be good for teaching young kids and a willingness to learn,” she said.
Splash Mountain, “It’s a Small World” and Haunted Mansion all help Disney’s Magic Kingdom live up to its “Most Magical Place on Earth” slogan, but for senior Peter Mann, a whole other attraction captures his imagination.
“I loved the hotels more than going to the theme park,” Mann chuckled.
After graduating in May, Mann will join the Disney College Program. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, he will help handle hospitality in a Disney hotel.
“I’ve wanted to do something in the travel industry and help people as well, showing them a good spirit and a good face,” Mann said. “The hospitality industry is a perfect mix of those two.”
The full-time position lasts from May to January. The management and accounting double major will take part in career development classes, work with guests, and team up with domestic and international students. This way, Mann’s perfectly placed to put his foot in Disney’s door.
“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of,” Mann said. “I am incredibly blessed to have this. This is one of the few opportunities that presented itself to me.”
From a young age, Mann has had an innate love for travel. It’s arguable that his hankering for hospitality began long before college.
“My family and I did road trips every summer growing up, and I became the family coordinator, planning where we’re going and what we’re doing,” he said. “I loved the logistics of traveling.”
Mann found this opportunity by reaching out on his own and looking chances that fit his interests. Though the University of Miami does not have a program specifically for hospitality, Mann believes his time at UM improved how he talks with others and presents himself.
“I always wanted to do Disney because it’s the epicenter of hospitality,” he said. “I followed my passions and dreams right away. After four years at UM, I think it’s well deserved.”
After graduation in May, senior Dykisha Potter will head to Jacksonville to teach in City Year Corps, an AmeriCorps program that pairs young adults with schools throughout the country to help with education in high-poverty communities.
“I’ll be conducting tutoring sessions, mentoring the students, calling home to make sure students are coming to school and keeping parents updated on their student’s progress,” she said.
Potter, who majors in economics and has minors in accounting and English, originally planned on going to graduate school to study public policy. Her plans fell through, however, after a busy fall semester made her miss deadlines for her two top choices, so she decided to take a year off.
Potter received a lot of information about Teach for America because she wanted to pursue education and social policy. Although she was looking for the classroom experience, she didn’t feel ready to teach fresh out of college.
She then remembered hearing about City Year.
“I researched it more and more and really fell in love with their model,” Potter said. “… It was exactly the type of classroom and school experience that I wanted, working with kids and making a difference, without being the sole person in charge of a class.”
Potter has experience tutoring and mentoring others throughout her undergraduate years, so she thought City Year was a good opportunity to immerse herself in a classroom full-time as a mentor assisting a school teacher.
She won’t find out which school she’s assigned to until after training for the position.
Potter will also be working with other City Year members to run morning and after school activities for the students and set meetings with teachers to come up with ideas to improve the school and its individuals.
“I am incredibly excited to start serving in August and I can’t wait to see where the year takes me,” she said.