Nearly 60 alumnae came back to Visitation to share their advice, support, and stories with the Class of 2018. In her keynote, Google staffer Susan Rajnic Paperini ’93 told students to be confident that they can do anything.
“You have to make sure you cultivate that voice inside you that tells you ‘you can do it,’ that tells you ‘you can learn and solve any problem you want,’” said Susan.
She encouraged juniors to learn to recognize the difference between intuition and fear in their own heads and hearts. “Your intuition is never going to tell you you can’t do something,” she said. “If you hear a voice saying ‘I can’t do that’…I want you to recognize that is probably the voice of fear.” Trust your intuition, because you can do anything, she said.
After the keynote, juniors attended panel discussions with small groups of alumnae from a range of career fields, including law, education, sales, nutrition, government, marketing, engineering, technology, medicine, music, and social work.
Alums shared how well Visitation prepared them for college, and many noted that their career paths didn’t always lead where they thought they would.
“Study what you’re interested in and it might lead somewhere you'd never expect,” said Colleen Carroccio Gormley ’06, a financial advisor. Many alums echoed these sentiments, some sharing that they weren't even aware of their current careers when they were in high school. “Be open to things you might not even know exist yet,” said Katie Lauerman Bowe ’07, an investment advisor.
A large number of graduates expressed gratitude for the writing and time management skills they built at Visitation, which helped prepare them for college and life.
“That efficiency you learn at Visitation, you take it with you,” said Secret Service Agent Amy Szestak ’97.
“My ability to write and understand grammar is much better than most [people's] because of Visitation,” said Katie Bowe. Similarly, Ana Stoto Ross ’05 said she was extremely thankful for her Visitation English class and her resulting ability to analyze and understand complex stories or situations.
In addition to discussing their own unique professional paths, alumnae speakers shared lots of advice with juniors.
“Visitation taught me the power of relationships,” said Isabelle De Leon ’09. “It’s important to utilize your connections. You shouldn’t feel you’re cheating [by tapping into these], because you still have to prove yourself in the job.”
“Don’t be afraid to change,” said Michelle Ryan ’88, an engineer.
“What you think might happen might not, and that’s OK,” said Kathleen McGovern Dinsmore ’95, who works at the National Endowment for the Arts.
Following the panels, a meet-and-greet allowed juniors to speak with alums at greater length.
That evening, the juniors became one step closer to becoming seniors and eventually alumnae, when they received their class rings at Ring Ceremony.