Seniors, after living the routine life of familiar classes for nearly four years, will soon find themselves thrown out to the real world.
Their concerns in the final year are not restricted to showing up to classes on time and maintaining a good grade-point average, but also preparing for life after graduation.
Jazmine Shelton, a senior rehabilitation counseling major from Greensboro, said she is searching for jobs.
“Right now, I am concerned with taking the certification exam to become an official rehabilitation counselor,” Shelton said. “And, as I am looking for possible jobs, I am trying to get as much experience as I can by interning before graduation.”
“Because jobs have specific skill sets and descriptions that a regular bachelor’s degree won’t provide for, certifications become a plus point in the resume while applying for a job,” said Trey Walding, a senior communication major from Ozark.
Walding explained how his prior research on required certifications for a job helped him while applying for it.
According to Lauren Cole, coordinator of Career Services in Eldridge Hall, students should start networking with people in their fields ideally during sophomore year.
“Just interacting with employers and getting their resumes out in people’s hands — that’s what networking is,” explained Cole. “And even if you’ve never heard of the employer or you don’t think it’s exactly the right fit for you, you’ll at least get to practice talking with the employer and get your resume on their desks.”
Starting out early and getting involved in one’s field from early on does provide an edge over other competitors.
For Alex Collier, a senior multimedia journalism major from Jacksonville, Florida, being involved with the school football team has given him a head start with his career goals of eventually becoming a football coach.
“My grades are satisfactory,” Collier said. “But moreover, I’ve had plenty of experience in the field I want to go to, and I also know what they look for during the interview process.”
Cole said that any ordinary job — be it in retail or fast food — will equip one with basic skills of reporting to one’s supervisor, managing time and handling finances.
However, working in one’s field as an intern or shadow provides individuals with hands-on experience of the real work of that field.
“You learn the jargons of the industry and actually witness what the professionals say and do day-to-day,” Cole said.
However, Cole explained that even though a senior may not have internship experience, he or she may be able to compensate for that with involvement in clubs at school.
“I have no internships under my belt, but I am getting involved with clubs,” said Walding.
In grooming students for employment post-college, Career Services in Eldridge Hall offers services ranging from reviewing the resume to setting up mock interview sessions.
“We want our seniors to have their resume in tiptop shape, so we do a lot of resume reviews for them,” Cole said.
“We also want their interview skills to be polished; hence, mock interview sessions are conducted where we walk them through with common interview questions.”
However, for William Byrd, a senior biomedical sciences major from Auburn, the end of undergraduate schooling is the beginning of graduate studies.
“I have always wanted to go to medical school, and right now I am applying to colleges for that,” Byrd said. “I am hopeful to get accepted for the fall 2018 class and be able to participate in further research opportunity.”
Although having made plans for employment, Shelton and Collier both expressed their hope about attending graduate school.
Madalyn Jordan, a senior English language arts education major from Milton, Florida, is hoping to gain experience outside the country after graduation.
Her plan is take a few years to go abroad.
“There are several opportunities to teach English in countries all over the world,” Jordan said.
“I am applying to a few different countries for some programs that will be a two-year commitment.”
Shelton, Collier, Walding, Byrd and Jordan all acknowledge the importance of connections provided by their advisers and teachers.
“My adviser helped me plan my schedule,” Byrd said. “She made sure all my prerequisites were completed for the graduate program and handled my letters of recommendation on my committee letter.
“She cares about us and wants each of us to excel.”
“My advisers were very professional about making me understand what I need to do to be able to go to grad school and what colleges looked for,” Collier said.
Shelton said her advisers gave her insight on what she could look forward to doing at her workplace.
Career Services hosts the Career Fair, where students can network with potential employers.
This year it is set to take place on Oct. 18 at Sartain Hall.
Cole also said that the career center was looking to swap over to a new system called “Handshake,” where employers will post jobs and internships. Students will be able to log in to view them in the next couple of weeks.