Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series in which the writer, herself a May graduate, asks recent college grads from Maine islands about their job searches. 

With summer more than half gone, five recent island college graduates are looking ahead, and reflecting on how their college experience has influenced their post-graduate life.

For lobsterman turned PR man Alan Barker of Vinalhaven, his time at the University of Southern Maine gave him valuable professional connections.

“The most valuable part of the university experience to me definitely has to be the connections and networking opportunities,” he said. “I appreciate the academic learning, and enjoyed most of my classes, but starting with my academic advisor, Russ Kivatisky, I was able to develop a large network around the Portland area,” Barker said.

He added that while he uses his education to impress people when Jeopardy is on, he expects to use a wider range of his skills when he finds a full-time job. He is looking at several options, including online journalism and internship-to-hire opportunities.

Until then, he still enjoys working part-time in public and community relations for the Portland Sea Dogs and volunteering with Honor Flight.

“The most exciting part of the job for me is the ability to handle a multitude of requests while trying to provide information to upwards of 7,000 people per night,” Barker said.

Josh Doughty of Chebeague Island is working for a little longer at his family’s shop, Doughty’s Island Market, before going down to Nashville to find a job in the music industry.

“I’m just planning on, in the fall, driving down,” Doughty said. “I’m going to figure it out when I get there.”

Doughty is a drummer and songwriter. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he made valuable connections.

“I got a really good education at Berklee. I got to meet great musicians and influential people. There are good things about being in the city and getting to play with new people and meet new people,” he said. “But you see what was great about the island, too.”

Anna Maine, also of Chebeague, already is immersed in urban life. She just started training for her City Year, a year of teaching at a middle school in Los Angeles.

“L.A. has definitely been a culture shock for me, but I can’t exactly pin down specific reasons why,” Maine said. “Obviously, the layout of the city is very different, and there are many more Spanish speakers. But there is just a different vibe here, too. It feels weird not to be surrounded by Red Sox fans!”

Maine had already spent the summer adapting to a new culture while studying Arabic in Morocco.

“My experience in Morocco reinforced my passion for language learning, and has reignited my interest in academia,” she said. “At the moment, I deeply wish to pursue a career in education, but I have yet to settle on the age or subject. I think working at a middle school in L.A. will help to hone my interests,” Maine said.

Her education at Brown University is helping in unexpected ways.

“Surprisingly, I have found myself using information from my neuroscience, social psychology and linguistics classes in my training at City Year,” Maine said. “I have also used my Spanish language skills frequently in L.A.”

Leah Ranquist of Swan’s Island had already hauled a lot of lobster traps in high school before she went to the University of Maine at Machias, but since she got back to the island she has found herself using her business degree in her fishing business. She noted that she’s been thinking more long-term about her finances.

“I was also able to get a loan from the bank for a new boat this spring,” Ranquist said. “I can thank my capstone business course for that because I had to write a business plan, with detailed financials, and it was good enough to show the bank that I’m capable of paying for a new boat.”

Ranquist plans to continue lobstering for the foreseeable future. She likes being in charge of her own business and living close to home.

Roxanne Pendleton of Islesboro, meanwhile, is getting ready to move to Canada and dive back into academia. She will be starting a Master’s program in archaeology at Simon Fraser University.

“I’m excited for the whole experience. I know it’s going to be difficult at times, but I’m always excited to learn, especially in the field that I love,” Pendleton said.

She added that her studies at the University of Maine helped her discover and explore her passion for archaeology. Now she’s ready to leave the state and continue her studies.

“S.F.U. seemed to be the best fit for me,” Pendleton said. “I also wanted to branch out a bit; I have always lived in Maine and I love being here and living here, but I’ve always liked the idea of going far and seeing new places.”