Hockadaisies For Hire

Despite decreasing unemployment rates, Hockaday seniors look forward to future job searches and professional careers

After graduating from the University of Rochester in May 2013, Avery Zibilich ‘08 had her sights set on law school. However, in a fortunate turn of events, Zibilich was offered a job as an in-house lawyer for a development firm called N.E. Development in Dallas, only months after graduating from college. After working there for a short while, she took an investment position at a company in New York, where she says she is currently “loving her life.”

Zibilich credits much of her success and self-confidence to Hockaday, stating that her alma mater does an incredible job of teaching girls how to present themselves to supervisors.

“I don’t think I would have secured the job I have now so easily if I didn’t have the skill set I developed at Hockaday,” Zibilich said.

She is living proof that there is something to be hopeful for after high school, despite the high unemployment rate.

With Hockaday diplomas and a web of connections in their back pockets, Hockaday seniors transition into college with ease. However, finding a job means fighting the infamous unemployment rate, a percent that has undergone much fluctuation in previous years according to the monthly Current Population Survey.

A study conducted last May by Georgetown University found that the overall unemployment rate for recent U.S. college graduates is 7.9 percent.

In contrast, according to Hockaday’s Alumnae Office, the unemployment rate among Hockaday graduates from 2000-2010 is 15 percent. While this number may seem daunting, it is not completely accurate. It only accounts for the 178 alumnae who sent Hockaday their data out of the 1,169 who graduated during that decade. In addition, some of the 178 reported being unemployed, but are still in college or obtaining graduate degrees.

Zibilich noted that while the unemployment rate of Hockaday graduates seems much higher than that of the nation, in reality, it isn’t.

Zibilich urges Hockadaisies not to worry about unemployment because “the general process of applying for a job works in favor of the typical Hockaday student.” She noticed this specifically at an informal 2008 reunion where not one person attested to being in a “in serious need of a job,” she said.

“That’s not to say that some girls weren’t temporarily out of work, but we’re Hockadaisies and we hold ourselves to high standards,” Zibilich said. “We don’t settle for less than what we deserve and what we have worked for.”

Seniors Allie Love and Melody Tong are also choosing to remain optimistic about their future job searches.

“I feel like it’s important to be optimistic about something that’s so vital to you later on in life,” Tong said. “My main concern is finding the area that I’m really passionate about.”

While Love does find the concept of not being able to find work “nerve-racking,” she agrees with Tong that staying optimistic is the only way to get through the process.

“As long as you know what you want to do and are willing to go with the flow, you’ll land on your feet,” Love said.

Associate Director of College Counseling Elizabeth Jones definitely believes that Hockaday girls have a reason to be optimistic: they are very well-prepared.

“I have never been more impressed with students than I am at Hockaday,” Jones said. “I think [Hockaday students] are some of the most intelligent, articulate and well-prepared students that we could possibly be sending out into the world.”

A lot of the skills learned throughout the college counseling process will eventually translate over to the job searching process, such as mock interviews, résumé building and self-reflective work.

“The self-reflective piece involves asking yourself important questions like ‘What are my goals? Who is going to get me where I want to be?’” Jones said. “These questions aren’t just applicable to college, but also to the job search and, really, to the rest of your life.”

Zibilich thinks that some of the most valuable things Hockaday gives its alumnae are the connections and social skills they form as students.

“I learned this at Hockaday: networking is one of the most important skills to have; never, ever burn a bridge and always put yourself out there,” Zibilich said. “And never forget to help your fellow daisies out!”

Taking this knowledge with them after high school, Hockadaisies must find their own means of preparing for life post-college.

Love thinks that the best way to get ahead is to simply get involved.

“I’m going to get involved with a lot of different organizations in order to understand all the internships that are out there,” she said. “Whatever happens, knowing what you want and starting early is best.”

Jones said that, in the end, the best preparation for the sometimes disappointing world of jobs and unemployment is diving in head-first, while remembering to never let go of your past.

“Take advantage of all your opportunities, continue to get involved…but always stay true to who you are,” she said. “Challenge yourself, push yourself. Figure out what it is that drives you, what it is that you love, and pursue it. Everything else will fall into place.”

– Alexis Espinosa