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The NewSLU

Seniors Ponder Post-SLU Plans: To Stay or Not to Stay in Madrid

Roughly 50 students will don caps and gowns in May, and many of them will also say goodbye to Spain
Cathy Stancil
Evie Stancil and Jackie Amacker pose on the San Ignacio Hall rooftop following the 2023 winter graduation ceremony.

As the semester ends, graduating seniors are looking forward to their post-graduation plans and saying goodbye to the campus and friends.  

On May 10th, approximately 50 students will don caps and gowns as they celebrate the end of their undergraduate careers. Some students plan to pursue post-graduate degrees, some have jobs lined up and many others remain unsure about what they’d like to do once they graduate. 

On any campus, many students finishing college feel uncertain about their future. But SLU-Madrid students often confront the added struggle of saying goodbye to the Spanish capital. The school’s large international  population means that many students will have to return to their home countries after spending up to four years in Madrid. Graduation is the students’ final hurrah before navigating the world on their own and managing the unpredictability of the future.  

Paulina Guerrero, 22, was one of the 20 SLU-Madrid students who graduated in the fall of 2023. After graduation, she moved to San Diego, California, where she is completing a paralegal program at the University of San Diego Law School. Guerrero had been preparing for this switch in schooling.  

I have made sure to mentally prepare for the idea of life after graduation and moving back to San Diego. I have made contacts and am already set to start my career in law.

— Paulina Guerrero, Dec. 2023 Graduate

“I have made sure to mentally prepare for the idea of life after graduation and moving back to San Diego,” Guerrero said in an interview before graduation. “I have made contacts and am already set to start my career in law.

While Guerrero said that she would miss Madrid and the university, she felt ready to return to her home state. “I have had a great time in university and being a college student, but I feel very prepared and ready to move along on my life path,” Guerrero said.  

Though students like Guerrero have an idea of what they’d like to do following graduation, many others remain unsure. 

Ariana Castillo, 22, is one of SLU-Madrid’s Spring 2024 graduates. After spending the last few years in Madrid, Castillo finds herself wanting to remain in the city after finishing school.  

“Madrid feels like home, I find myself very comfortable here,” said Castillo. “Being from Ecuador, I especially love the amount of Latin culture found in the city. It feels like I have a piece of home with me.” 

Castillo is unsure of what she’d like to do following graduation but has recently decided that she is interested in pursuing a master’s degree. With an undergraduate degree in political science, Castillo has been considering SLU-Madrid for graduate school.  

“I’ve enjoyed my professors here, but those in the Political Science Department are incredible,” said Castillo. “Professor Simona Rentea specifically has taught me so much about things that I can do with a degree in political science and has just added so much to my education here. I’d love to complete a master’s degree here with her teaching.” 

Jackie Amacker finished a dual major in art history and economics last fall. Similar to Castillo, Amacker loves the city and is staying in the city following graduation while completing graduate school. Due to her love of community at SLU-Madrid, she was thrilled for the winter graduation ceremony. 

“There are only 15 of us so it feels intimate and because I know the two student speakers and most of the others graduating, I expect it to be personal,” Amacker said.  

Like most students during freshman year, Sophia Adams has envisioned her graduation day and the end of her college career since her first semester of university. Something that once felt so far away now lingers around the corner. With her four years of undergrad soon coming to an end, she has been reflecting on her personal evolution during these past few years.  

“I’ve seen myself evolve in my understanding of what it means to be successful and happy,” said Adams. “I used to compare myself to those who go to prestigious schools and attached myself to the idea that a top-tier education, job, and perfect path would make me happy. After living here I’ve realized that’s the opposite of what I want. I feel content with a life filled with diverse connections, exploring my interests, and experiencing everything I have access to.”  

For underclassmen who are nervous for their inevitable graduation day, Guerrero offered this piece of advice: 

“Enjoy every moment of it because graduation comes faster than expected. Enjoy all the little moments: the times you stay up late studying, the times you come to class and go through your whole morning commute, the walks you take around Madrid with your friends, the laughs you share in class or outside of class. Just take it all in, the ups and downs, because life will pass you by.” 

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About the Contributor
Abby Langton
Abby Langton, Editor-in-Chief
Abby Langton, a senior and communication major, is the Editor-in-Chief of The NewSLU. She has covered hard news, features and sports.

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