What’s next for DU grads?

Student Anna Farnsworth is feeling the pressure of her senior year in college

If there is one question that soon-to-be college graduates dread most, it might be “what are your plans after graduation?”

Some seniors already have post graduation plans: law school, graduate school, teaching…but for the majority of students on campus, the fast approaching “future” is completely unknown. And while most find the idea of having complete freedom and endless possible careers is exciting, it can also be very an overwhelming and stressful time for students.

Taking the next steps

“Right now, I’m applying to get into publishing certificate schools. I hopefully will get into this summer program in Denver, and at the end they have job interviews so I am hoping to get a job after that,” says senior Annie Daniel.

Another senior, Anna Farnsworth, is currently working her way through the 4-1 teaching program at the University of Denver.

“I thought senior year was supposed to be fun!” she complains.

“I have been student teaching full days at a middle school, and will move to a high school next quarter. I go from 6 am to 3 pm student teaching 4 days a week , and take a full course load of grad student classes on top of that.”

Her hard work now will pay off however, and she takes comfort knowing that she will be in Denver working and going to school for an additional year. However, even she has some hesitations.

“It’s just such a big decision, you know? I mean, what if I go through all of this and realize that teaching isn’t the career for me? It’s scary taking such a big risk,” she explains.

The fear of the unknown

Even if students feel that they have an idea of what the next steps are for them after graduation, in the back of most students heads is the reality that nothing is definite, and despite their careful planning, there are still many other things that students such as Daniel and Farnsworth have on their mind pre-graduation.

“I would say its an uncomfortable feeling… even though I have some idea of what my life will be like next year, its hard not knowing things like where you are living in 6 months, and it’s really hard to plan for,” she explains.

One of the reasons Daniel says she believes students are so nervous is because it is the first time when there is not a definite next step set out for us, and students have more freedom than they know what to do with.

“After middle school, I knew I would go to high school and after high school I always knew I would go to college,” she explains.

But, she explains, with this fear comes a definite sense of excitement for the next steps.

“Now, I could really do anything, move anywhere… I have nothing tying me down.”

Transitioning from college life to the “real world”

DU offers many resources to help make this “uncomfortable” transition from college life to the dreaded “real world” a little easier on its students. Students are encouraged to take advantage of these resources in preparation for graduation on June 9th.

From career councilors, career tests to help students apply for jobs that suit their strengths, endless emails and posts to the student job listings, or even just someone to listen to your fears, and reassure you that other students are feeling the same way when the stress becomes overwhelming.

“I cried for like, twenty minutes last time I went to the career center,” admits senior Hadley Weiss.

Weiss will be graduating at the end of DU’s winter quarter, and although her summer internship will turn into a job in March working as a “Wish Granter” at the non-profit organization, The Make-a-Wish Foundation, she is afraid she will not make enough money to pay off her student loans, or pay for rent in downtown Denver.

Hadley Weiss with Tim Tebow on the job at The Make-a-Wish Foundation

A shoulder to cry on

“It was nice just to talk to someone that wasn’t my mom or one of my friends…I needed to hear from someone else that I wasn’t going through this alone,” she says.

One thing Weiss said helped her relax was having a career councilor compare graduation to other transitions that students have already gone through, such as moving to a different state without knowing anyone for college, or going abroad and learning to live in a different country.

“It just made me realize that I can handle this, and I am ready for this. Everything will work out. It always does,” she says.

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