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From California to Florida and back in Athens, recent graduates of Ohio University are making their way in life.
OU alumni are still showing their pride in Athens by joining the alumni chapters in their areas and attending events that keep Bobcats connected. There are more than 20 different OU alumni chapters.
“The biggest difficulty with moving was initially uprooting myself from my friends and family,” Tyler Murphy, a 2018 graduate said. “I knew basically no one.”
Murphy moved to San Francisco to pursue an internship at Dolby Laboratories after graduation. He now works as a public relations coordinator at Glassdoor.
Provided by Tyler Murphy
Tyler Murphy moved to the Bay Area after graduation to pursue a career in public relations.
Since moving to San Francisco, Murphy has joined a Facebook group of OU alumni in the Bay Area. There are events constantly happening, and Murphy is planning on attending a Golden State Warriors game in January with the group.
“I actually have a couple friends that I have connected with that went to OU that I wasn’t friends with in college but I am now,” Murphy said.
Moving across the country was hard, but Murphy believes it is worth it for people considering making the move.
“I knew there was nothing wrong with moving back home or staying in Ohio, but I wanted to (move) right after graduation just to set that independence right away,” Murphy said.
After graduating in 2016, Helene Shai was not sure what she wanted to do with a degree in biology that didn’t involve going to medical school.
Instead of continuing on with school, Shai found a job selling human-grade pharmaceuticals for competition horses all over the country.
“I was the president of the equestrian team so I combined my passion for medicine and horses,” Shai said.
Provided by Helene Shai
Helene Shai travels the country selling pharmaceuticals for competition horses.
The job is a great fit for Shai because of her love to travel. She traveled to Florida, Denver and many other places over the past year selling pharmaceuticals at horse shows and competitions.
Although it did take her a few months to figure out what she wanted to do, Shai is confident in her choice to travel the country without any strings tying her down.
“The most important thing that I did was get out of my comfort zone,” Shai said. “You have to get out of your comfort zone and break your cycle. Take the chance while you can.”
Not everyone who graduates from OU wants to leave Athens, though. For Matt Howard, a 2016 graduate, staying near his alma mater was what was best for him.
“My senior year in school I was a coordinator of one of the cafes on campus, and I really liked it,” Howard said. “I stayed in town and made my way over to Insomnia Cookies, and I really like this position.”
Howard is the manager at the popular late-night snack bakery, located at 27 N. Court St. He chose to stay in Athens because he is making good money and feels that his job here is more convenient than moving away at the moment.
In a year or two, Howard plans on searching for another job, preferably closer to his family outside the Dayton area.
“I’m kind of just going with the flow, but I know in a couple of years I’m probably going to move back home and be closer to family,” Howard said. “I do miss them a lot.”
Howard was worried about the stereotype surrounding alumni who stick around Athens when he first decided to stay. Not long after graduating, he realized staying in his college town was not as big of a deal as people think.
“Yes, this is a college town, but it’s still a town,” Howard said.
Staying close to campus has made him feel like a student still at times.
“I still feel like a student sometimes without the classwork,” Howard said. “I guess it doesn’t feel a lot different.”
For students getting ready for graduation but plan on staying in Athens, Howard advises them to not worry about the stereotype. He said there is nothing wrong with working in Athens while looking for another job.
“As long as you’re making money, you’re fine,” Howard said.
Though some students will choose to stay in Athens, many will decide to move away. Sometimes, thousands of miles away.
Murphy is a mentor for a current OU student in the university’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America — an organization he participated in while in school — and shares what he has learned after graduating.
“People can be really surprised with what they can accomplish moving outside of their bubble,” Murphy said.