Grenadier Careers

IU Southeast Alumni recall their college experiences and how their time impacted their career


Photo courtesy of Aspen Kirchgessner

Meleena Richardson, Staff Reporter

Finals week is generally considered the most stressful at a university. Between worrying over exams and getting last minute classes finalized for the next semester, those few weeks are rough enough for any aspiring college student to question,“Is college really worth this?”  

You hear it your whole life to get your education and put it to use in the workforce. There, hopefully you will find a career you love and can grow with. According to IU Southeast’s website, the university’s mission is to provide high-quality educational programs that promote learning and prepare students for productive citizenship.

IU Southeast offers a wide range of majors and minors for students to choose from, anything from nursing, business, journalism, political science, etc. However, does everyone always get the job they thought they would and does their educational experience in college really prepare them for their career?

For Jody Spaulding, she got the job she wanted and much more. Spaulding graduated from IU Southeast in 1992 at 25 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Spaulding worked as a registered nurse for 25 years before landing a job working for an insurance company called Aetna where she now approves or denies patients hospital admissions.

“I am happy to be able to help others,” Spaulding said. “I do feel IUS prepared me for this. I wanted a career that I would make a decent salary and that no matter where I go or live I could always find a job. Nursing careers are ones that stay with the constant ever changing world of knowledge, medications, procedures, patients, and the like.”

For Spaulding, the job she always wanted was easily obtainable.

“It was easier since there are abundant jobs in nursing,” Spaulding said. “Plus I worked in the hospital while I was in college, so when I graduated I had my foot in the door already.”

Spaulding still made use of her degree as a registered nurse to pursue other options later down the line in the healthcare field.

For another IUS graduate, even though her heart had been set on business marketing and accounting when she got her degree in 2015, she did not know that when she got her dream accounting career, it would not make her happy.

Alex Lilly thought her life was set until she actually began working with her career.

“It was easy to find a job in accounting but the job did not make me happy,” said Lilly.

Lilly found out the hard way that her four year degree was in something that did not truly satisfy her. However, she decided to go to graduate school to get a degree in education.

Lilly plans on being a teacher and realized the classroom is what makes her happiest these days. She is now a student teacher while attending graduate school.

“I am happy with teaching,” Lilly said. “If I had to go back, I would have done education to begin with.”

This is a prime example of real life problems that do occur sometimes once you get your degree, but luckily, Lilly took the initiative to further her education.  

Aspen Kirchgessner is an IUS graduate who double majored in both Spanish and international studies in 2017. For her, college was less strain and more of a growth opportunity.

“While in Costa Rica, I learned the ability to adapt. Learning the ability to adapt has helped me with living on my own and my first full-time job.”

— Aspen Kirchgessner, IUS Graduate

Due to IU Southeast’s study abroad program, Kirchgessner studied Spanish in a raw setting such as Costa Rica.

Kirchgessner urges fellow students to do internships as well.

“I’d tell someone to do an internship because you get to experience a field that you’re interested in and see if it’s a fit for you,” Kirchgessner said.

Now after graduating Kirchgessner makes use of her degree as a full-time front desk agent at a local hotel where she also translates for spanish speaking guests.