Students brave difficult choices

As the last note of the alma mater hangs in the air and tears are shed, graduates must close one chapter of their life and open another.

Recent graduates are faced with life-changing decisions. Some of these decisions may be whether they should enter the workforce or continue their education.

“I didn’t want to go to work or go back home,” said Warren Carmichael, 23, an environmental science graduate student from Mobile, Ala.

“I decided to go to graduate school and specialize in one area.”

Carmichael received a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from the university, spring 2003. He realized he was not ready to enter the workforce and decided to focus more on study habits.

After obtaining a master’s degree, Carmichael plans to enroll in law school.

Individuals who choose to continue their educations must realize the work and commitment that graduate school requires.

While in grad school, students must maintain a B average; anything lower is considered failing.

“In grad school, you have to have the ‘I want to go out and get it’ attitude,” said Alvin Benton, 23, a political science graduate student from Atlanta. “You have to take everything that you were supposed to have learned in undergrad and apply it.

Students are also required to teach, conduct research and are required to enroll in at least nine credit hours.

“When more is expected, you meet that standard,” Benton said.

In addition to attending graduate school, many graduate students get involved in organizations outside of their heavy class workload.

Benton is also the president of the Graduate Student Association.

Established in 1997, the GSA serves as an outlet for students to voice their concerns, as well as a social outlet. The GSA holds a social or academic seminar once a month.

Programs like the Graduate Student Association were started to assist with the matriculation of graduate students at the university, and to make them feel part of the university.

Teandra Delancy can be reached at