Now’s the time to prepare for life after graduation

Graduates await to walk the stage before ceremony at FAMU. Photo courtesy

You are so close to reaching the finish line. You can see the bright orange and green lights shining on you as you walk toward the stage, eager to receive your diploma.

You’re excited this moment has finally come. You hear your name announced through the speakers and as you walk across the stage, you hear friends, family and faculty cheering you on. You shake hands with all your former professors as you say your final goodbyes and prepare to take your graduation photo with your degree in hand. You turn your tassels to the right, and it’s official: You’re a graduate. Eyes are filled with tears, your smile gleaming from 10 planets away.

As the adrenaline comes to a calm, you think to yourself: What happens now?

What happens to life after college? Many students love the thought of graduating on time, or they’re “ready to leave” so bad that there is often no thought given to what happens after graduation.
Many already have a plan sorted out, believing they will land that well-paying job they have been dreaming of.

The reality is, only about 67 percent of both female and male graduates with a bachelor’s degree will receive a job, but not the one of their choice, according to the United States Labor Department. In October 2020, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates with a bachelor’s degree increased to 12.8 percent. About 45 percent of 2020 college graduates are still looking for work with decent pay, according to CBS News. Some students with master’s degrees say they should have been out of the house by now while still living with their parents.

However, the high spike in unemployment rates is a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, causing the nation’s highest spike of inflation, not to mention job retention.

AT Florida A&M, there are almost 9,000 students enrolled for the 2021-2022 academic school year, according to its website. With so many expected to graduate, it is vital how one will strategically plan for life after graduation.

Fourth-year psychology student Brittany Mathews says she has made plans for after graduation, as well as a backup in case it does not go as planned.

“You have to take advantage of the resources the school provides but also know how to use them,” she said. “I took advantage of all the resume workshops and internships related to my major because it can only help. I’ve now secured a job as a social worker in Tampa, and it’s because I prepared myself early.”

It is always a great idea to have at least some type of short and long-term goals ready. Where you will move, how much money you are making, and how you will take care of yourself in the next couple of years as times continue to change constantly. It is also great to remember that you are not alone. If you feel like you are not on track or just need an extra boost of support, you can always contact a mentor. That can be done by contacting FAMU’s Center for Access and Student Services at 1735 Wahnish Way, or by calling 850-599-3145.