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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, April 14, 2024

Graduating seniors explore alternative paths

After graduation, many students enter into a frenzy of concern regarding how they are going to cope with living in the "real world." The mad postgraduate scramble leaves many seeking further education in graduate school or entering the workforce.

But while many Tufts grads move on to make it big in the business world or pursue lofty careers as doctors or lawyers, some choose to follow less conventional paths after leaving the Hill.

Rocking the boat

Graduating senior and English major Ezra Furman decided that, rather than continue his education or enter the conventional professional world, he wants to pursue his music career. Furman's band, Ezra Furman and the Harpoons, plans to go on tour this summer after Commencement.

"We're trying to wrangle going on tour with various bands that are more famous than we are," Furman said.

Furman and his band, which also includes seniors Jahn Sood, Job Mukkada and Adam Abrutyn, are unsure of their exact plans. But they do know that they want to continue to play music and, hopefully, make a career out of it.

"We've got big dreams," Furman said. "And the plan is to chase them around and be fearless about it."

The Harpoons are already off to a good start: They've signed with eminent indie label Minty Fresh Records, and their last album, "Banging Down the Doors" (2007), received rave reviews from critics as diverse as Paste Magazine and National Public Radio.

Furman said that although he realizes it is difficult to make it as a musician, he is in no rush to pursue a backup career. "For now, I'm going all out with music," Furman said. "There's a good chance that I'll have to work in a record store or something like that in between [going on tour]."

According to Furman, many college students decide to do what's safest rather than pursue their dreams because they're afraid to take the risk.

"People get scared that they're not going to have a good thing to do or make enough money, and then they get scared and they don't try things that they actually want to do," Furman said. "There are people who are just abandoning dreams of theirs that could have worked out if they'd just stuck to [them] … it seems obvious that that is a road to spiritual ruin."

Furman, who became an English major because he enjoys reading, said that in addition to his music career, he might someday like to be a teacher. "I was thinking about getting a teaching degree and teaching high school English," Furman said. "Then I could be a high school teacher and go on tour in the summer and play shows on the weekends."

Sprechen sie Deutsch?

While some future grads like Furman venture out into the world without a specific plan, some are taking advantage of opportunities offered abroad. International relations, community health and German major Bruni Hirsch applied to several different programs for the year following her graduation and eventually decided to accept a Fulbright grant that will take her to Germany next year.

"I applied for a few different opportunities because the Fulbright tends to be very competitive," Hirsch said.

Hirsch was attracted to the Fulbright program because of its ideas about intercultural dialogue. "The greater values of the Fulbright commission [are] directly aligned with how I think international relations should be viewed."

While in Germany, Hirsch will teach English and complete research. "My research is focusing on universal healthcare coverage and cost containment and healthcare," Hirsch said.

Work, however, is not her only reason for going to Germany. "I went abroad in Germany, so I have lived in Germany in the past, [but] a semester abroad is hard because you do a lot of traveling, and so I really didn't immerse myself … as much as I would have wanted to," Hirsch said. "I'm looking forward to immersing myself in the German culture." Living in a small town where most people do not speak English, Hirsch feels she will have the opportunity to get a new view of Germany.

After her Fulbright is through, Hirsch said she may stay abroad, but she will likely eventually return to the States and go to graduate school to pursue a master's in public health, possibly with a dual in health-care management. "In the end, I definitely want to go into the field of public health," Hirsch said.

Hirsch said that although she is somewhat anxious about living in Germany, she is excited about the rare opportunity that the Fulbright offers. "I figured if there's a year to kind of go beyond my comfort zone and do something a little more out of the box, it would be next year," Hirsch said.

Keeping the peace

While Hirsch may be moving toward territory a little more familiar, biological psychology major Ellen Gordon plans to spend the next few years of her life in a different realm. After graduation, Gordon hopes to join the Peace Corps, and she will likely be sent somewhere in Africa. "They break it down into regions, so they told me that I'd probably be going to the Africa region, which is huge," Gordon said.

Although her application is still being processed, she has already received a nomination from a Peace Corps recruiter who interviewed her. "[After the original application is approved], you fill out medical forms and get legal clearance, and that takes incredibly long," Gordon said. "That's sort of where I'm stuck right now."

The Peace Corps program, which is a 27-month commitment, includes three months of training and two full years on the job. Gordon hopes to leave in September to start her training.

Gordon said that joining the Peace Corps has been a lifelong goal of hers.

"It's something that I've wanted to do for a long time; I'm one of these optimistic 'glass-half-full'- or 'three-quarters-full'-type people, and I really want to make a difference in the world," she said. "At the same time, I'm out for the adventure; I'm out for the cross-cultural experience."

After the Peace Corps, Gordon said that she would eventually like to pursue a career in the medical profession, even though she is daunted by the prospect of going to medical school. "Med school scares me a lot, so I've been pre-med on and pre-med off for a while," she said. "I would love to be a doctor, probably a pediatrician. I love working with kids, or another type of general care like family practitioner-type doctor, where it's really kind of patient-oriented."