Brace Yourselves, Graduation is Coming: Seniors prepare for a world after college

Skye Duncan | Lariat Photographer
Skye Duncan | Lariat Photographer
By Abby Loop
Staff Writer

Life as a senior in college can be great. Classes are flying by and a sense of entitlement can be felt knowing life as an underclassman is over. However, what starts as seniors standing tall and ready at the beginning of the year can quickly turn into apprehension and nervousness as a significant event approaches: graduation.

When college seniors exit the world of classes and enter reality, all the books, professors and classrooms morph into briefcases, bosses and offices. For some, it will be an exciting transition into the adult world. For others, it’s a jump into an unknown land.

Preparing to leave Baylor and venture out into the career world also means filling out internship and job applications and, for some, preparing to move across the country.

Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., senior Rayne Brown said she plans to be on the lookout for a job before she graduates so she’ll be more prepared when she leaves school.

“I feel anxious about graduating but I’m also happy because I feel so burnt out on school,” Brown said. “Also, I think I’ll feel less anxious if I graduate with a job offer. After graduation, I plan to be working at a major publication in New York.”

Brown said right now she’s not preparing for graduation but is waiting until next semester. However, she said the best thing she thinks anyone could do to be prepared for graduation is knowing their best career option.

“As far as preparation, do your research and have an idea of what you want to do,” she said. “The most horrific thing for me would be to go into a job and honing my skills and then I end up hating it.”

Kevin Nall, director of employer relations at Baylor’s Office of Career and Professional Development, said the main thing seniors need to know is what they want to do and how they plan to achieve it.

“I would say they need to know what they’re looking for and be focused and clear about it,” Nall said. “You need to be able to communicate the value of what you can do for an organization and you need to be able to answer why you want to work for a certain company.”

Nall said students should be doing the homework for the company they are applying for and make sure their resume is perfomance-oriented. Also, any students who are having problems with finding a career, knowing what career they want or want advice on thier resume are encouraged to stop by the career office and take use of the multiple resources that are offered.

According to the department’s website, staff at the Office of Career and Professional Development are there to help students and alumni achieve success after leaving Baylor through career exploration, professional development and employment resources.
“The best thing a student can do is come by the career center. We have access to alumni, we look at and help fix resumes and we have career fairs that feature a variety of companies,” Nall said. “They should create Hire-a-Bear accounts and be able to get information on these fairs.”

Katy senior Hannah Mullikan said she’s been to Office of Career and Professional Development before to get advice on her resume writing.

“They were a great help,” Mullikan said. “I have a strange combination of anxiousness and excitement when it comes to graduation. I’m excited to put these past four years into use, but then I also don’t want to leave the academic world. Part of me just wants to keep learning.”

Mullikan said the best thing she can do right now while still in the safe environment of school is to take as much as possible from professors and classes.

“Don’t think your professors are stupid,” Mullikan said. “You’ll miss those moments when you’ll want to go back to that certain class because you now know something new.”

According to a study done by the School of Education at Northeastern University, students planning to enter the workforce find themselves wasting time in classes that appear to have no relevance for the future they face and the second semester of school is seen as more of a time for socialization than academic rigor.

Nall said that while most of the senior students he deals with are very motivated, he notices the ones who have already had previous jobs or internships in the summer find school to be more tedious.

“Some students might feel challenged to finish out the year and are not pushing academically because they’ve already had jobs,” he said. “But most seniors are pretty motivated to get something nailed down after graduation.”

This year’s senior class winter commencement ceremony will be on December 20. The spring commencement ceremony will be on May 15 and 16. Whether students are graduating in the winter or the spring, Nall had the same advice for all of them.

“Work on networking with people, let people know you’re looking for a job and don’t get discouraged,” he said. “There will be a lot of unanswered emails and lots of unreturned phone calls. Keep going and give people a reason to hire you.”