College Grads Seek Meaningful Jobs Over High Salaries

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Taking Time Off After Graduation

Devin Conway, 24, graduated from Dickinson College with a philosophy degree in 2009. He always knew he wanted to go to law school, but didn't want to do it right away. Instead, he decided to teach English in South Korea for a year and apply to law school after that.

"I felt like I didn't want to get locked into one thing," Conway said. "I felt like I was still really young. There were a lot of opportunities out there and law school would be waiting for me when I came home again."

Conway left for Daegu, South Korea, in July of 2009. After his one year teaching commitment was through, he still wasn't ready to return to the U.S. He took another month to travel around Southeast Asia, visiting Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Now that he has been home for eight months, Conway is preparing to take the next step. He has been accepted to Boston University Law School and plans to attend in the fall.

"I don't see a problem with taking a year off, going out and seeing the world, figuring out what you want to do with your life," Conway said.

Additionally, he said, the experience can help strengthen your application for graduate school by diversifying yourself.

"I think a lot of people are having a hard time getting into grad school at this particular point…and a lot more people are taking a year off, going abroad, living in the city or taking classes," he said.

"A lot of the people I graduated with are just now starting to apply for graduate programs."

Though grad school is still her goal, Lauren LaDolcetta admits that going back to the classroom is easier said than done. After graduating from Dartmouth last spring, she took a job with a public relations agency instead of applying to law school, which had always been her plan. She said she felt burnt out of after her four years of college and wanted a break from the classroom setting.

"It's really hard to go back to school once you've had work experience and you're getting that paycheck," she said. "To sort of lose that momentum is a disadvantage. A lot of people who say they're going to take time off don't end up going back."

That's why LaDolcetta has set a deadline for herself and plans to attend graduate school in 2012 -- although she had originally planned on starting in 2011.

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