Editor’s note: The Working Waterfront’s Rachel Thomas, herself a recent college grad, checks in with five islanders who recently graduated college to see how their job search is progressing. In the September issue, Thomas will report on the same group.

For recent college graduates, the job market looks uncertain.

A recent Accenture study of college graduates found that fewer than half get a job within six months of graduating. In Maine, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people aged 20-24 had a 9.1 unemployment rate last year, compared to a 6.8 overall rate for 2013.

Five 2014 island graduates are approaching this uncertainty with optimism as they pursue their goals, through work, further study and paying off student loans.

One way to gain experience without jumping straight into the job market is through post-graduate opportunities. Anna Maine of Chebeague Island is about to start teaching in Los Angeles with City Year, an AmeriCorps program that places graduates in high poverty schools to teach for a year.

Maine studied comparative literature at Brown University. She hopes to continue studying in graduate school, or to start a career in the Arabic-speaking world. As part of her major, she read literature in Arabic and Spanish.

Maine appreciates her island upbringing.

“I am incredibly grateful for the close knit community that feels like my family,” she said. She hopes to eventually move back, but right now “there aren’t as many employment and/or educational opportunities in Maine as there are in other places.”

Josh Doughty, another Chebeague graduate, is in a similar situation. Doughty is a drummer and singer/songwriter. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the fall he plans to move to Nashville, a music industry center.

He says he might work in a studio, but will do “whatever I can do to make a living in music.”

This summer, he’s working at his family’s store, Doughty’s Island Market, which has been a mainstay since his grandfather opened it in 1961.

Daughty said his island upbringing helped prepare him to be outgoing on stage.

“You have a very big family even though you might not be blood-related,” he said of the island. “People are very sociable. The sense of community you get living here is unique.”

While the job market looks uncertain for young people, a college degree can help some pursue new careers. Alan Barker of Vinalhaven went back to school at the University of Southern Maine after 10 years as a lobsterman. He wanted to build his passion for writing into a career in sports marketing and public relations.

After an internship with the Maine Red Claws basketball team in Portland, Barker began working part-time for the Portland Sea Dogs minor league baseball team. He also works with local charities, including Honor Flight Maine and the Bob Gagnon Cancer Fund.

While these responsibilities let him use different aspects of his degree, he is still looking for a full-time job, “hopefully in the public relations field.”

Of his future, Barker said, “I would like to continue living my dream in the sports and entertainment world while still being able to give back to my community through charitable work, either as an officer, a fundraising coordinator or even just as a liaison between Portland area businesses and island-based organizations.”

While Maine, Doughty and Barker plan to work, at least for now, Roxanne Pendleton of Islesboro is heading back to school. Pendleton studied anthropology at the University of Maine. In the fall, she will begin a master’s program in archeology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. She hopes to eventually earn a PhD.

“I’m mostly interested in the Pleistocene environment and early human behavior, but I am also interested in the current state of our relationship to the environment and non-human animals,” Pendleton said. “In the future, I hope to use archaeology for modern problems.”

Meanwhile, some graduates stay close to home. Leah Ranquist of Swan’s Island has no immediate plans to leave.

Ranquist studied at the University of Maine at Machias. She was initially unsure of what to major to choose.

“I finally decided on a business degree because I know that it can be used in anything I do,” she said. “And I personally enjoy working for myself and being my own boss.”

Ranquist has more experience being her own boss than most recent graduates. She’s been fishing for years and she now owns her own 32-foot North Shore boat. Her passion for lobstering comes in large part from her grandfather.

“My grandfather took me and my sister out in the boat when we were tiny little things, where we baited pockets and banded the lobsters. I should mention that my grandfather only had one arm and had the ability to haul traps by hand! He was an impressive man,” Ranquist said.

She plans to keep fishing and pay off her student loans and her boat.

While she’s not sure what she will end up doing in the future, Ranquist hopes to “settle down on the island if it’s possible, so I can be close to my family.”