As the spring heads in with the celebration of Passover and Easter, many students at USF come to terms with graduating in less than two months. Graduating from college allows for students to finish their educational paths, and step out into the world as knowledgeable, independent, and career-minded individuals. Yet, for many students it can be a scary time in their lives. Forced to figure out what to do with their lives, whether it be what is the right job is, how to find that job, and maybe if graduate school should be an option–all are difficult decisions and questions for students facing graduation just around the corner.
Career Services is a vital part of USF and takes great strides in helping assist students in their needs. USF Career Services provides counseling, advising, and opportunities for students to find jobs and internships during and after college. They greatly encourage students to bring in their resumes to have it reviewed by the counselors. This helps students prepare for interview for prospective employment after leaving USF.
For seniors that are graduating and have never been to the career center, it’s a good time to check in. Career Services has done several things in order to provide more opportunity and time with students on campus. They have extended, modified, and increased their drop-in hours. Career services has increased drop-in time from 14 hours to 21 hours per week. Now drop in hours are scheduled 11:00am -2:00pm Monday, Thursday, and Friday; and 4:00pm – 7:00pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. This adjustment in the rescheduling of drop-in hours has been really popular with students. The drop in hours now fall more in line with the dead hour on campus and during time where students have breaks, enabling them to easily make time to visit Career Services.
In fact, the number of students coming into Career Services has increased by 25% from the previous year. The change in students coming in is not simply due to the hour changes, but also to the changes within the current economy. From the previous years of the recession, students today are at a slight advantage and are more aware of the difficulty that may come when looking for work and establishing careers. Alexander Hochman, Assistant Director/Career Counselor at USF Career Center said that the economy is in recovery and it’s up to student to get the jobs today. Hochman said, “My biggest words of wisdom, is to tell students to be persistent. People cannot simply turn on their computers and spend an hour looking for work, and think that they have done an adequate job search anymore.”
Graduates are having their resumes checked, and making sure to take advantage of the Career Service Resource on campus in order to have an advantage when entering the workforce. Most students though are unaware that Career Services continues to be available to students for up to a year after they graduate. This gives students an outlet and a connection to USF, even after leaving the school.
For most students graduating is an exciting time and some know what their plans are for their futures. Jessica M. Aceves a senior at USF majoring in International Business and Minoring in Peace and Justice is gone back and forth with her own emotions about graduating from college. Aceves said, “In the beginning of the semester I was extremely panicked and scared because I didn’t have a plan. Then once I figured out what I wanted to do, I was excited about graduation and was confident for what was to come.” After graduation Aceves plans on joining AmeriCorps and then the PeaceCorps before going back to school for a Graduate Degree. Although Aceves has decided on her plans after graduation, she plans to continue to utilize the Career Services Center at USF, even after graduating, recognizing it as a great benefit to her.
Other information and forms outreach has also been seen by the Career Services center by them incorporating being present at orientation for incoming freshmens. This year alone, 100 freshmen students watched a presentation given by the Career Services that informs them of what their services offer and how they can provide essential assistance to each student on campus. During this year, Career Services has given over 100 class presentations, by far the most they have ever given, to various classes on campus, reaching out to graduates, students, and anyone interested in what they can provide.
By large, the biggest new form of assistance that Career Services has incorporated is helping students in networking. They found that a great number of students were not comfortable in networking, and in essence where not networking at all. They have recognized this and addressed it by simplifying the process and making it less scary for students. Networking is found in various outlets and channels today, assistance can now be found through the Career Services Center with Social Media. They provided options such as Linkedin information and assistance. Even the Arts and Science Department at USF, has debuted their online mentoring program, where alumni can mentor students.
They are even seeking out in showing students different outlets that are available to them such as events. One option open to students is in March, when Career Services hosts a Career Fair. The Career Fair is an annual event, and is an opportunity for students graduating or not, to be able to meet with employers, network, and potentially find jobs for the future.
Career Services even newly established a blog where students can go to interact with others, use the site for personal reviews and references, and be able to personal quick feedback from the career services center. This resource is just one of the many way in which career services is trying to reach out to students on campus. Although there is a lot of options the small things that graduate must remember is to fill out their graduation forms and surveys prior to being able to graduate.
Even though graduation brings excitement to students, many expressed concerns and an upset of nerves for having to make decisions for their futures. Students feel pressured, nervous, and unsure of what to do. Some students are starting jobs, and others are taking time to experience traveling the world before starting their professional careers, others are entering grad school right after graduating. Alexandra L Vonder Haar is a Business Marketing student at USF, and is about to graduate this May. Haar plans to save up enough money to move to Los Angeles to get an internship with a designer or a Public Relations firm. Haar stated, “I am really nervous because I’m completely on my own for the first time in my life and it seems extremely overwhelming.” Haar felt that she could speak for the majority of students graduating in saying that 99% of graduating students do not feel prepared.
Overall entering the world and leaving college is both overwhelming and exhilarating. Which path to take and what will come of the decision we all make today will inevitably change tomorrow. Only time will tell for each graduate what the future truly holds.
Knowing that USF has their back with options, assistance, and simply support with resume reviewing allows for all graduates to take a sigh of relief.