For Caitlin Cheely, a UAA alumna who earned her major in Russian last year, the weeks following graduation were a difficult and uncertain time.
“Life after college can be equally exciting and frightening,” Cheely said.
After graduation, students can be unsure of where to go or what to do. Thankfully, though, there are people at UAA who can help with the ordeal, including Danica Bryant, who is the workforce and career development coordinator at the UAA Career Services Center, or CSC.
“Graduates should be utilizing our free resources before they even graduate by doing internships and attending job fairs during their senior year,” Bryant said. “Since no one can turn back time, we still offer the same resources to recent graduates and alumni that we offer current students.”
The CSC allows students to meet one-on-one with staff to have their resumes examined and critiqued. The CSC can also test interview skills to help students get used to the process of getting a job after graduation.
In addition, the CSC offers free professional attire and access to several job databases both within and outside of UAA’s networks. This makes finding a job after college a much easier prospect.
These resources are extremely important, and they can make the difference between being a desirable job candidate and being off-putting towards a prospective employer. UAA’s CSC exists for a reason, and it’s useful to use them while you can.
Getting a job immediately after graduation, though, isn’t the only option. In fact, Cheely also advocates traveling.
“Employment may not be your first concern after graduation, and that is okay,” Cheely said. “As long as you have the resources necessary to plan an extended trip, it makes sense to travel after you graduate when you have very few obligations keeping you tied to a specific place.”
Graduate school is yet another option for graduates as well. For some, it’s a straight continuation of their collegiate careers. For others, it’s a long-term goal put off by a lack of finances.
For students like Cheely, a combination of the last two options is valid.
“Seeing as my graduate school of choice was not in Alaska, I made the decision to move out of state,” Cheely said. “I do not have connections to the community where my graduate school of choice is, so I want to be more self-sufficient before I move in that direction.”
In cases like her’s, it’s crucial to adjust to life in the community surrounding the graduate school, especially if it’s out of state. The feeling of being a stranger in a strange land is something that collegiate life should be training people for, but just in case, it’s sometimes ideal to take a slower pace.
In the end, though, it’s important to focus on what you want to achieve in life. No matter what happens after graduation, it’s important to stick to what you love and do what your degree has trained you for, at your own pace.
“The most important thing is that you make a consistent effort to pursue whatever goals you set for yourself,” Cheely said. “You will not always be able to travel in a straight line from point A to point B; you might need to make some stops along the way. Always try to make the most of those bumps in the road.”