Class of 2021: Looking ahead

2021 by the numbers:
Looking ahead

Jacqueline Hayre-Pérez ’21 does not know exactly what she wants to do after graduation, but says her “secret ambition” is to be a judge on the International Criminal Court.

“Social justice is very prominent in my life and in the areas I am looking to study, including Middle Eastern studies, political science and religious studies,” she said. “I want to be able to work in a job that actually promotes social justice in a real, objective and tangible way.”

Similarly, many other members of the class of 2021 have visions — albeit to varying degrees of specificity — of what they want their lives to look like after graduation.

A News survey distributed to the class of 2021 earlier this summer asked the incoming first-years about their post-graduation prognostications. One thousand, two hundred and sixty-seven members of the class responded, yielding a response rate of 80 percent. The results were not adjusted for selection bias.

When asked about their intended career or industry, 20 percent of respondents said they were not at all sure of their future plans, and 28 percent said they were deciding between several options. Still, 38 percent said they were somewhat sure of what they want to do, with 13 percent indicating they are very sure.

Sarah Sotomayor ’21, for example, knows that after graduation, she wants to pursue a doctorate in neuroscience and study the effects of music on the brain. Willow Sylvester ’21 has also outlined her dream career trajectory, from United Nations fieldworker to translator to diplomat.

“I know exactly what I want to do and why I want to do it,” said Sylvester, whose future plans were sparked by her exchange program experience in high school. “I want to help build empathy throughout the world so other cultures can understand each other.”

But more than half of respondents were less confident, as 53 percent of students said they were not sure whether they would still be working in the same industry 10 years after graduation.

Students were also asked to select the field they were most interested in pursuing after graduation. The most popular options were graduate school, medical school, law school, business or finance. Students also expressed interest in government or public service, consulting, the arts, communications and journalism, nonprofit work and education.

“I would love a job where I could either travel constantly or a job that brings the international community and international affairs to my workplace and my day-to-day life,” said Hayre-Pérez, who is from Boston.

When asked where they expected to live after college, the majority of respondents — 68 percent — indicated that they wished to stay in the Northeast, despite the fact that only 36 percent are originally from the region. Eighteen percent said they anticipated moving to the West Coast, and 12 percent said outside of the country.

For others, the destination was less important than the journey.

“If I could have one hope about my time at Yale at beyond, it’s that I hope to be proud,” Brendan Campbell ’21 said. “I want to be proud of the psets I’ve crushed, the fun I’ve had, the risks I’ve taken and the many miles I will have walked from Murray to Old Campus. But above all else, I want to be proud of who I am as a person.”

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