After months of being scouted and courted by several companies in the U.S. and abroad, Kearney Shanahan accepted a position at Cambridge Associates, a consulting firm in Boston.
"One of the things that appealed to me about Cambridge is the fact that, yes, everyone is there to work hard but isn't there to be killed," Shanahan said with a smile. "Everybody expects that sometimes we're all going to have to work hard and be there after hours, but it's not going to be something that happens on a regular basis. Free time is expected. But at the same time, we're all there for a common goal in regards to the clients."
Kearney Shanahan & Kristan Jiggetts
Shanahan will be in good company. He describes the firm as a very collegial environmentfour or five of the eight new associates he'll be entering with in July hail from other NESCAC schools.
Over the past few months, Shanahan received orientation materials from the firm. When he started on July 12th, he was to spend the first three to four weeks in on-site training, a time for practice and getting comfortable. Then he'll have a team leader who is the same type of associate he will be but who has been with the company for a few years. "He'll look after me and serve as someone I can go to for guidance," Shanahan said. "Eventually I'll be matched up with ten to twelve clients that I'll be doing research for and working with in varying degrees with a team. So after several weeks, I'll be right in the mix of it."
Shanahan is excited about living in Boston but says he hasn't been getting stressed about the details involved. "I think what I'm going to end up doing is subletting an apartment for the summer and then getting a place in the fall when I find out who else is going to be living in Boston. I've been working the Colby housing network, talking to friends who know of openings."
Colby has certainly made an impact on the course of Shanahan's future, he said. "Going out, I feel as though I have the right amount of confidence coupled with a respect for what I don't know."
It's all coming together for Kristan Jiggetts, who will attend graduate school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, studying for an M.F.A. in television production.
The three-year program includes film history and theory and also teaches the hands-on skills of the television production craft, including editing, directing and cinematography. Jiggetts also will be required to do a thesis, in this case creation of her own television show. "It's a great program because of the small size [10 graduate students were enrolled in her class] and the way in which students work together and not against each other," she said in June, just before she headed to L.A.
Jiggets had interviews lined up for internships and hoped that she could sign on with an independent film company.
She won't be entirely on her own. Jiggetts's older sister lives in Los Angeles and works in television news. She'll provide a great support system in Jiggetts's new city: "One of the biggest things she's warned me about," Kristan Jiggetts said, "and this also comes from my father, is that you have to have a really thick skin to go into something like this. You're going to have to deal with people rejecting you all the time and not really being the nicest people in the world."
But L.A. certainly has a sunny side, too. "I'm looking forward to the weather," Jiggetts said with a broad smile. "And I'm also definitely looking forward to having a wider selection of men in the dating pool and having more opportunities to meet different kinds of people. My time at Colby has been great, but I'm ready to move on."
Ready in more ways than one, Jiggetts appreciates the preparation Colby has given her. "I think my academic experience here has prepared me to be more critical and to analyze what I'm doing and the effect I'm going to have on society," she said. "I've realized that things that seem benign really aren't. They have a huge effect on people, and often nobody really seems to notice. I think that if I eventually get to the point where I'm making films or making television shows, that's what is going to have the biggest impact on me."
Almost-real-world advice for underclassmen: "Don't stress out too much about what you're doing," Jiggetts said. "It's not that abnormal to graduate from Colby and not know where you're going next. Start early and figure out what you're interested in, but don't freak out and feel like a failure if you don't have a job by January of your senior year. You just have to roll with the punches and keep a good attitude."