Q&A: Katie Martoche

by Nathan Scrivani

Katie Martoche knows a lot about burnout. She spends a great deal of time helping students deal with the many stresses that come with college life. Martoche, the Title IX Coordinator and Director of Career Development at Hilbert College, talks to students all the time about the anxiety, stress and exhaustion that is sometimes a result of the intense amount of work college students are expected to handle. The Scribe sat down with Martoche to discuss helpful tips and tricks for college students on how to prepare for their future career, and how to prevent and treat college burnout.

The answers to these questions have been edited for space and clarity.

The Scribe: Tell us about your position here at Hilbert College?

Katie Martoche: I am the Director of Career development, and Title XI Coordinator. My job is to help students achieve what they want after college. Students typically have four possible things they can do after they graduate. These options include getting employed, getting a higher education, military service, or doing some sort of long term service opportunity, for example the Peace Corp, or AmeriCorps. I discuss with the students what their goal is after college, resume writing skills, mock interviewing, job searching, business etiquette, and how they can use their major to get where they want to be. As a director of career development, I help the student do whatever they can that will help them achieve their intended post-graduation outcome.

TS: What is your past education and years of experience in this field?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Urban studies, and my Master’s degree is in College Student Personnel Administration. I have been working part-time in the field from 2002 to 2004, and full time since 2004.

TS: What tips or advice do you have for freshman in college, for them to better improve their chances of achieving their goals after graduation?

KM: One of the things we try to work with freshman on is called career exploration. Career exploration entails the students asking themselves, “What can I do with this major?” For example, with criminal justice majors, oftentimes students want to become an FBI agent or a police officer. But there are so many more opportunities out there. I help students to try and specify exactly where they want to end up after graduation, and how they plan on achieving that. With that being said, career development is definitely a lifelong process.

TS: What tips or advice do you have for sophomores in college, for them to better improve their chances of achieving their goals after graduation?

KM: For sophomore year, everything is a progression. Hopefully we have found a career path for them, and we look at what skills are needed of them to land them a job in a field they ultimately want to be in. In sophomore year, we ultimately push them to partake in clubs and activities on campus, and also to do their service learning during their sophomore year, which helps them get engaged in their community, whether it be through clubs like Hilbert Helpers who volunteer in the community, or to find one or two volunteer groups that help a cause that is near and dear to their heart. This not only builds skills, but also employers look at volunteering equivalent to paid work experience. So we want to make sure we’re building a resume in that second year.

TS: What tips or advice do you have for juniors in college, for them to better improve their chances of achieving their goals after graduation?

KM: For juniors, we try to focus in a lot more on work experience and how we can put it on a resume. And how we can articulate our strengths on our resume for the employer, so they can see how the student can be an asset their business or to a graduate school, whatever it is the student wants to do after graduation.

TS: What tips or advice do you have for seniors in college, for them to better improve their chances of achieving their goals after graduation?

KM: Same stuff as before, but now we help the seniors job searching. We will be applying to graduate schools or to long-term service opportunities. Also, we will be helping the students with references for letters of recommendation. We will be really focusing on not only one career outcome. Let’s say, a student’s Plan A for their future doesn’t work out. To prepare for this, we help the student create a Plan B to fall back on if that’s the case.

TS: What tips or advice do you think all students should know for surviving college?

KM: In my experience, students who are very successful are organized, focused and understand that our job right now is to be a student. That’s your full time job. But you also need to take time for yourself, practice self-care, and to have fun. College, for most of us, only happens once. Make the most of your time, and right now all of the friendships that we are building in college, these people could be our colleagues down the road. That guy who lives down the hall from you in Trinity Hall, could be your boss someday. These friendships not only could be with your peers, it could be with faculty members too. The faculty and staff are going to be the ones who give you recommendations for jobs, and being good references for you.

TS: Do you have any tips on how to prevent burnout (Mid-semester exhaustion) for students?

KM: I could be a millionaire if I could prevent college burnout. Sometimes, knowing when good enough is good enough is really important. Someone gave me this sign before, it says:

Do the best you can,

Until you know better.

Then when you know better,

Do Better.

– Maya Angelou

That is the way that I work. Every day I do my best. Somedays are better than others. As long as we can recognize that and be okay with that, hopefully with that and taking time for ourselves, it will prevent college burnout.

TS: Do you have any advice on how to treat burnout for students?

KM: Treating burnout is just as important. Get a lot of sleep, drink a lot of water, take advantage of our Wellness Center on campus. We have a counselor and a nurse at our wellness center. If you are so exhausted that you can’t sleep, or are sleeping too much, find somebody that you could talk to about that, who maybe can help you distinguish whether or not it’s a medical problem or just exhaustion. We have medical professionals on campus who are trained to be able to help with that. Finding a hobby, taking time with friends and reading a book are also a good idea, too. Read a trashy romance novel once in a while, play Playstation and try to get your head away from school every once in a while. The only healthy way to do school is to not do school all the time. School should be most of your life, because it’s a full time job, but you need to take breaks sometimes. We all do.

TS: Any last piece of advice that you would like to add for the reader, that you think is important?

KM: I think it’s important for all of the students to know that our faculty and staff are here because we care about your success. We care about your success as future professionals and as people. One of the great and unique things about Hilbert, and one of the reasons that I love working here, is that we truly live and breathe our Franciscan values. Some of them include respect, integrity, and service. I hope that students embrace those values as well, because in regards to career development, it ultimately makes you a better candidate for those positions that you’re going to be applying for. Another thing is that we do work with our alumni through our office, too. Even after graduation, you can come back and use our services. With that being said, the more you use our services as a student, the less you would need to use them after you graduate. So be sure to take advantage of our services as a student.

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