Recent graduates share their post-grad experiences

Ivana Ford in Las Vegas at one of Microsoft’s annual sales conferences. Photo courtesy Ivana Ford.

Post-graduation can be a joyous time. Or it can be the start of a struggling period, according to recent graduates of Florida A&M.

In 2018, the four-year graduation rate at the university was at 22.5 percent. Out of that small percentage who graduated in four years or less, Ivana Ford was able to not only achieve that goal, but also land a successful career after earning her diploma.

“I’m actually enjoying post-graduation life,” Ford said.

Ford is employed at Microsoft in Washington D.C., working in the tech sales department. She plans to stay with Microsoft and seek a higher degree in business administration or computer-related studies.

As a freshman, she came to Florida A&M with her associate’s degree so she was able to double major and still graduate in four years. Ford double majored in business administration with a focus in finance and computer information technology. Ford graduated from the FAMU in May.

During her time in undergrad she interned at Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs and was heavily involved on campus. She urges students to join organizations that help them excel because they will benefit them in the long run.

“I do feel like I took my college experience seriously to gain imperative experiences throughout my undergrad career,” Ford said.

Ford described how she prepared for her post-graduation life. She said she surrounded herself with the right people during undergrad.

“The people you hang around the most are going to push you in the right direction,” Ford said.

She recommends that students stay focused and seek opportunities outside of their field to help prepare them to be well rounded and stand out in the workforce. Ford said, “When we’re at school we get distracted. We end up majoring in FAMU, make sure you have your end goal in mind,” she said.

Alphonso Robinson, a recent Florida A&M graduate, admits to losing focus during his undergraduate career and now finds post-graduation life a struggle.

“To be completely honest, post-graduation life is only a hassle because of me,” Robinson said.

Robinson graduated from Florida A&M in August with a degree in pre-physical therapy. He says he lost interest in his major when he continuously had professors who didn’t engage with students. Shying away from his interest in his major, he found drive in other studies but felt it was too late to change majors.

“Right now I have to refocus and make connections after, instead of being focused and setting up jobs during undergrad,” he said.

Since graduation, he is studying for his physical therapy assistant license and hopes to get his doctorate degree one day. In addition to his studies, Robinson owns a clothing line named SOLEWAY.

“Everything is done by me; the designs, marketing, website and video content. The brand is all about finding clarity within oneself and I use designs and colors to express that. I made it to the point where I’m actually making my shirts and not going through a third party,” Robinson said.

Although his post-graduate life does not involve his degree, those around him are nothing but supportive. De’Andre Bradley, one of Robinson’s close friends, said, “He’s always very determined to make his products or services better and that’s what makes him an amazing business owner.”

Robinson has high hopes for his clothing brand and a career as a  physical therapist. Robinson said, “I just have to use this brain and degree to fund my own dreams and make them into a reality.”

He advises future graduates to take the first two years to understand if the major they’re perusing aligns with their goals. Robinson said, “Get these internships, make your name known; not on campus but in the workforce. Get your LinkedIn popping, make those connections and prosper.”