We all have become too familiar with the growing amount of college students moving home after graduating and finding themselves “stuck.” Stuck in college loans, stuck with a degree they have no idea what to do with, stuck living at home in a town and lifestyle that cuts them off from their previous stomping grounds. After college… is there a life? Is there any way of getting back those days in college, where you felt confidently moving towards what you wanted to pursue in life?
For music majors, especially Westminster graduates, a life is very possible. In my interview with Margaret O’Neil, a 2014 Westminster graduate, and alumna of Westminster’s female fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota, I was able to uncover the break of a stigma that most college graduates have of being “stuck.” Instead she showed me how in fact she still felt connected to her time at Westminster because of the strong backbone and connections she built at Westminster and to the town of Princeton.
Margaret was fortunate to have known about Westminster and grew up in New Jersey where she was able to access music from numerous cities that held a musical standing. When deciding to go to Westminster it was a choice that gave her a community and town to accomplish her goals in becoming a music educator. In the middle of her undergraduate degree at Westminster, Margaret became involved with Sigma Alpha Iota, one of the newest and only female Greek organizations on campus. Immediately Margaret became a contributing member and further in her undergraduate career became President; she also held other leadership positions throughout the fraternity. The experience she had building up the fraternity from one of its starting chapter classes gave her an idea what kind of energy and leadership she would need when leaving this institution.
After finishing the five-year program which combined her undergrad and graduate degree in music education and graduate studies in education, Margaret now resides in Haddonfield, NJ. Due to the ties to the community she made in Princeton and from her work with Sigma Alpha Iota, Margaret shared with me how she still feels supported by the Westminster and Princeton community. She now teaches music as well as works within the school district as a substitute teacher. Even though she has graduated with her masters, her experiences in Princeton have left her the feeling that she can continue to learn no matter what the obstacles she faces are: may that be a position at a school that is not a first choice, or facing difficulty when trying to establish oneself in their career at a young age, or finding equality in the work place between men and women. Margaret is by definition an outstanding alumna of Westminster who is passionately and scholastically still embodying her skills she learned while living in Princeton and therefore creating a life outside of college, by bringing her collegiate journey back with her.