Commencement is less than a month away, which means many of us will be walking out of Trenton’s Sun Bank Center and into the rest of our lives. The thought that we now must embrace careers and independence may garner that stress and even some of that relief, but it also creates fear and confusion. However, as we draw closer to the end of our college careers, it is essential that we look to our futures with hope. Despite what many people may believe, there is a plethora of reasons to be positive.
1. The job market is not an abysmal black hole.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not entirely impossible to find a job after graduation. In fact, CNBC reports that as of 2016, the job market was actually better than it had been in many years prior. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers estimatedly hired 5 percent more graduates from the class of 2016 than 2015. In addition, it was also reported that the unemployment rate of college graduates over the age of 25 was at 2.4 percent, compared to the overall rate of 5 percent. This is great news for anyone who thought they would never find a job in their field or after graduation. We might not get amazing offers with our very first applications, but this hope should motivate each of us to keep applying.
2. Let social media and technology do their job
I know that I’ve met some of my greatest friends here at Rider and I have no intention of leaving them behind once I move out. However, it’s easy to feel sad when realizing that we won’t be able to see our friends as often as we do here in our dorms, in our classrooms or in our workplaces. Still, while it may not be the same, social media platforms and video calling make it possible to stay in touch, no matter how many miles separate us. The same can be said about professors, as many will be more willing to add former students on social media after graduation or will be open to email correspondence. Graduation does not have to be the end of friendships or good relationships.
3. Hold on to the memories, but make new ones too
Alumni often say life will never be quite the same after you leave college. I don’t doubt that. Many of us will likely wish to continue having the same experiences we had at Rider. However, instead of falling prey to such deep nostalgia, we should be grateful for the memories we made these past years while still being open to bigger, possibly better experiences once we assimilate into the professional world.
If you’re not graduating yet, make sure you strive to make every class, every party, every all-nighter, every tear and every laugh worth it. You’ll be at the end of your college career before you know it, looking back on your beautiful campus and wondering where the time went.
And if you’re a graduating senior, like me, try to fondly look back at your time here. We’ll never get another chance to relive these four years, so we should enjoy them as we live them. Our futures might seem unclear and hazy as they come over the horizon. But that’s okay, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we embrace our futures once they arrive, and take to the rest of our years with hope and a strive to live the best lives we can.
Senior journalism major
Printed in the 4/26/17 issue.