Seniors battle pre-graduation jitters as real world awaits

Lindsay Sainlar

School is almost out for the summer, and for some, school is almost out forever.

The seniors who will graduate on May 10 will leave the one constant they’ve known for so long – college.

While some will go on to graduate school next year, others will enter the unknown job market. Some may have anxieties about the unknown things they may face post-graduation.

Paducah senior Haley Gibbs, a public relations major who has already received two job offers, said it will be hard to adjust to the working world at first.

“I’ve gotten used to the routine of school,” Gibbs said. “It’s going to be really scary.”

Gibbs said she wishes she would have studied less and gone out with friends more.

Betsy Pierce, an outreach coordinator at Western, said the period of adjustment between school and a chosen career can be stressful for some.

She said most people will second-guess themselves and ask questions like “Am I really prepared for this?” or “Are other people going to perceive me as capable?”

Pierce said graduates should go into a job with open ears.

“Go in and do much more listening than you do talking,” she said. “Show an interest in everyone you meet.”

Pierce also said some seniors are anxious to graduate with 60 plus hours in a major they’ve lost interest in.

She said if someone is unsure of their career path, they should try and work in their field for one year and go back to school if they decide they don’t like it.

“It’s better to take a year or two off now, then wait 20 years down the road and ask ‘What am I doing?'” Pierce said.

Pierce said seniors should also be aware of increased employer expectations. Although most employers are aware that their employees will slip-up from time to time, Pierce said these graduates no longer have the luxury to skip work like they could with school.

“There are more consequences for your actions,” Pierce said.

But Pierce said graduating college and getting a job can be less stressful in the sense that there won’t be constant homework and tests to study for.

Some seniors aren’t anxious about their future beyond graduating.

Brian Wilson, a senior from Great Barrington, Mass., is the graduate assistant on Western’s basketball coaching staff and is getting his master’s degree in history. He wants to coach college basketball one day.

He doesn’t have a definite job lined up yet, but Wilson isn’t worried about finding a coaching position. While Wilson waits to hear from potential job prospects, he plans on getting a day job to make ends meet.

“I’ll have to find something to occupy my time,” he said.

For some, like Joy Strange, a senior from Fairbanks, Alaska, finding a steady career in their field isn’t an issue at this point in their lives.

“I don’t really want to work hard right now,” she said.

Strange said she is tired of school and wants to take a year off before she goes to graduate school. She plans on training to be the manager at Abercrombie and Fitch this summer.

Strange, a mass communications major, wants to make movies one day. She isn’t worried about finding work in her job field, she said.

“There’s always a job market,” she said.

Reach Lindsay Sainlar at [email protected]