Office of Public Affairs

Course aims to ease 'launch' into 'real world' after college

student at commencement 2018

Navigating life post-college graduation can be a trying time for many. Entering the workforce, budgeting, paying taxes? It’s not easy to achieve.

A new class offered at the University of Southern Maine (USM) seeks to ease that transition. The course, "Launching into Life after College,” will give students skills and strategies for making their own way once they graduate from college.

The 3-credit, semester-long course is designed by an interdisciplinary team of USM faculty from the School of Social Work and the Departments of Computer Science and Communication and Media Studies. The pilot version of the course, running in Spring 2019, will begin with 15 junior- and senior-level students and is now open for enrollment.

But the course isn’t just for traditional-age students, the instructors say. Older and non-traditional students are encouraged to enroll, as well.

“We’re welcoming any student who’s making that transition … into developing a new identity around being a college graduate and what that means to them and what’s next in their lives,” Jeanette Andonian, director of the School of Social Work and one of the class’s instructors, said on the WMPG podcast, “USM NOW.”

The course will also be taught by by Dennis Gilbert (Communication and Media Studies), David Bantz (Computer Science), and Lenny Shedletsky (Communication and Media Studies).

In the course, Bantz says, students will also serve as research participants — providing topics for discussion relevant to their own lives.

“(There is a) notion that we need to not just rely on our own intuition on the difficulties these students are going through but sit them down in focus groups (and) try to find common elements in them,” he said on the podcast.

Those topics might include transitioning from being students to workers, and finding an identity in professional environments; moving; and finding one’s way outside the structured realm of university life.

“Subtle emotional challenges … like breaking from the familiar,” Shedletsky said

The class, which holds the code COR 400, is available for sign-up on the university’s class portal MaineStreet. Students from all majors are welcome to sign up. For more information, view the course description on the School of Social Work website, and listen to the “USM NOW” podcast.


By Alan Bennett // Office of Public Affairs