L'eja Williams

L'eja Williams is a journalism major who will graduate in May. She already has a job lined up, but it is not in line with her major.

Graduating college is the ultimate goal for many students as soon as they select their school of choice. It is the last step, for some, before adjusting to permanent adulthood. That means feeling a sudden sense of freedom, but having consistent bills to pay. New adventures are sure to come, but more responsibilities will follow. One can expect to be working towards their passion, but there will be obstacles along the way. 

Before any of that happens, though, thousands of students will undergo waves of emotions. Of course, many look forward to the day they get their degree, but how are they feeling ahead of that time? What thoughts go through their head when they sit down to apply for jobs? When does it finally sink in that their college experience is coming to an end? 

Lej’a Williams, senior journalism major, has mixed feelings about embarking on her new journey. 

“It really is bittersweet,” she said. “I feel like the four years went by really fast. The scary part is transitioning into adulthood. You have to face the real world and be on your own.”

Williams is on the right track before that crossover is finalized. She has already found a position that pays the bills. “The job has nothing to do with my major, but it is secure—which is what I want right now.” 

That is another thought in the mind of many undergraduates — will their degree be used? According to a study done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 55.3% of class of 2019 college graduates were employed within their first six months of graduation. 

Summer Wright, 22, is confident that she will be a part of that number upon graduating in May. 

Majoring in public relations and minoring in social media marketing, she said, “My major and minor is forever evolving, and with the world of remote working, I have many opportunities. I plan on applying for jobs right after graduation or throughout the summer.” 

Job hunting can add an excessive amount of stress on top of mounting graduation stressors. From tweaking resumes to editing cover letters, it can be a burden to some almost every day. There are also numerous factors that one must include when it comes to applying such as location, salary and needed experience. 

Janna Zayed, a nursing student, is going full force into her degree by gaining hands-on training in her field. She started her clinicals at St. Baptist in Bartlett, TN. in September of last year, and does not plan on stopping there.

“I plan to start looking for summer internships soon,” she stated. “It’s important for me to get experience before graduation because I want to be the best nurse I can before I step into the real world of my career.” 

In an effort to help graduating seniors do just that, the University of Memphis Office for Career Services is around to offer guidance. It is a department on campus that aids with internship and job placement as well getting students involved on campus. Their mission, per their website, is to educate and empower students to take ownership of their professional developments. Located in Wilder Tower, a group of career specialists wait eagerly to ease the transition between scholars and their journey to adulthood. 

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