By Thomas Moran | Staff Writer
Graduation is just around the corner, and for the thousands of Baylor students graduating this semester, the commencement ceremony marks the beginning of a new life chapter.
There are a variety of options for students after graduation, including graduate programs or joining the workforce.
Fortunately, Baylor has countless resources to aid students with their job search, including a mentor network, financial literacy programs and more.
Donna Sparks has been working as the director of alumni engagement since 2014 and regularly engages with students facing the challenges of post-graduation life.
“I help find alumni who want to connect back to the school and mentor students or help them make connections,” Sparks said. “I also help them in their career transitions like their first job out of school or when they relocate.”
According to Sparks, there are a wide range of expected and unexpected challenges that graduates face, many of which are interrelated. For example, seeking employment and paying back loans are two issues that are often interconnected for former students. Fortunately, many of the resources available to students during their time at Baylor are still available to them after graduation.
“They can use all the tools that they had before the graduated, as far as career exploration or Handshake,” Sparks said. “There are several online resources that they have access to as well as if they need help with their resume being critiqued.”
Sparks suggested that seniors and recent graduates utilize the Baylor Mentor Network.
“The Baylor Mentor Network is an online platform,” Sparks said. “Students can either video chat with a mentor or set up phone meetings. The beauty of the mentor network is that these are alumni who have already raised their hands and said ‘I want to help students or recent grads.”
Celina senior Luke Haynes is finishing up his Bachelor of Arts in sociology. Haynes is planning to work in Waco for a few years before returning to Baylor to pursue his masters of social work.
“I feel like I am about to step into a completely new world,” Haynes said. “I am applying to jobs, so hopefully by the time I graduate, I will have a job. If I get a job, the plan is to hang out in Waco, get an apartment and relax. After a few years of work, graduate school is the plan.”
During his time at Baylor, Haynes said he has learned the value of seeking mentorship with faculty and utilizing the resources available to students, while also enjoying his final year of undergraduate studies.