Graduation is here at last. Then what?

Landy Coulanges is scheduled to graduate on Dec. 14.
Photo submitted by Landy Coulanges

The days wind down, and the sound of the clock grows louder. The moment that all students wait for is graduation. It seems like it takes forever, but finally the alarm sounds.

To some students there’s not enough time in a day to plan last assignments, life goals and the next step. There once was pressure to graduate but after graduation there is a new level of pressure to survive.

How will you survive? What will you become? How will you apply your skills in the real world? Assistance from professors, advisers and school equipment ceases. Are you ready to stand on your own two feet? Did you use your time wisely or do enough while being an undergrad?

Along with those questions may come excitement, assertion, anxiety, depression and confusion. The unknown can bring fear or excitement depending on the individual.

Can you really prepare for life? Is it OK to not have it all together?

Many students have a handful of internships and jobs lined up. There are also students who haven’t gotten three call backs after one hundred applications; or what about those students who are undecided or simply want to take a completely different direction from their degrees and are just trying to satisfy their parents.

There are important steps to take prior to graduating. Besides the students who already have a job waiting for them, many students either go home and live with their parents and get a 9-5 job until an opportunity opens up. Randall Griffin, who graduated FAMU with a business administration degree, shared his journey after graduation.

“The process wasn’t as bad as I thought. It had its ups and

downs. I actually ended up staying home the first year out of graduation and had a job. So

I was able to stack up and save a lot of my money so when the time came for me to get a better, more high paying job, I was able to move out to Austin and not have to worry about moving expenses. Start applying for jobs as early as now. It’s millions of college students in America and they’re all looking to work at similar companies. Being black in white, corporate America is different from FAMU but it’s just the way it is, and you have to adapt and adjust without losing sight of who you really are. Start saving now as well, especially if you don’t plan on staying in Tallahassee post-graduation. It’ll make everything less stressful,” said Griffin.

There are many things to consider after graduation such as a job, living expenses, where you want live and is this what you really want to do. After the excitement of walking across the stage students must prepare for possible disappointments. The first job you get may not be your preference. Students must trust the process; stay patient, organized and determined. Kimesha Barnes graduated with a major in health science. She had a difficult time getting a job after graduation.

“My transition process was in all honestly one of the most difficult experiences I’ve had to go through thus far. It took me five months to get a job within my field that actually paid well. During those five months I received many rejections simply because I lacked the hands-on experience most employers were looking for. Around the third month, job hunting became a very depressing process. Nevertheless, I tried to remain positive and kept on applying.

Soon to be graduates! Please, please, please start applying from now! That aspect is super important. It’s something I wished I did. The job hunt after graduation can be extremely stressful. Save yourself the stress and start applying to various positions early,” said Barnes.

The message is clear to start applying prior to graduation because time is of the essence and you may not get a job that you want as soon as possible. For the students who have possibly waited until the last minute for whatever reason, take it a step at a time. Plan and be diligent to your goals. Don’t give up because everyone’s journey is different.

It is imperative that students do not compare themselves to other students. It may cause self-doubt and depression. There is something out here for everyone and everyone has a gift. It is up to you to determine how far you will go.