Graduating Senior Asks Peers, “Now What?”

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This is a call for all my fellow University of San Francisco peers — the younger, the better  — to listen to a senior’s final plea to all undergraduates. I am weeks away from walking towards an unknown future, wearing a cap, gown and crammed with information from various professors, PowerPoint presentations and books. But still, I must wonder, “Now what?”

I have no jobs lined up, no internships awaiting me, no real prospect for a way to repay the loans that were necessary and pushed me into this unfortunate situation I find myself in today. Instead, I have a lingering regret — not due to my crazy college experiences, but from what I did not experience. From what I decided I did not want or need to experience. I made the decision to not take on the working world early on and now it  has left me stranded, calling out, “Now what?”

As I step off of the university’s grass, I realize that I have spent five semesters here, not once really taking advantage of what the university offers on a regular basis. I never attended any career fairs, never looked at Dons Careers to see what hot internships were open to me, never thought about attending one of the several seminars about how to find such opportunities.

Perhaps I thought the jobs would be lined up outside, waiting for me to pick and choose. Instead, while my classmates are accepting positions and entering the working life, I am left behind, hoping someone can answer, “Now what?”

My first semester I had one class Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which would have allowed me to intern somewhere a few hours a week. The following semesters had a similar pattern that would have given me the chance to work and build my resume. And now, in my fifth and final semester, with the most random class schedule, without the experience anyone in my place should have, I contemplate, “Now what?”

No one can answer the question for me. Today, I stare at DonsCareers and Craigslist, applying to anything that may result in an offer. And even with the prestigious diploma I will soon receive in the mail, it will not be enough. So now, I must ask myself, again, “now what?”

I appeal to you, my USF peers, and especially to you, freshman and sophomores: take advantage of what the university is offering now. Attend every career event, check DonsCareers regularly and apply, apply, apply. Reach out to the USF community to find someone who can mentor or help you on your journey. Join a club or group — and if you don’t like it, then change it from the inside. Make your LinkedIn profiles professional and connect with the people you meet. Network every single day and be active. Otherwise, there’s room at my table for us to have a lengthy conversation about “Now what?”

5 COMMENTS

  1. Matthew,

    All valid thoughts and feelings. I graduated in 2008 in the height of the unemployment crisis. I moved home to LA and found myself a bit lost. Rest assured its NOT the end of the world but the beginning of a new world you will learn to know. I think its a great time to celebrate with a vacation if you can, maybe backpacking, traveling…definitely do something!

    Once you get some well deserved R&R you will be refreshed and ready to focus on the next thing…getting some working world experience. I’m sure you can get some help at the career services or job hunting online. If you know what you want go after it, show up in person let them know you want to work there with resume in hand and ready to work attitude.

    Just remember its the beginning of your professional career so there is nothing you can really do that is incorrect, its all learning and applying what you’ve already learned. Also keep Grad school which is also a viable option.

    Hope this helps!

  2. Matthew,

    There is a quote from Christian Nestell Bovee, “When all else is lost, the future still remains.” which I will add “There is nothing more important than the present moment.”

    You have to start your career somewhere, why not the present moment? My advice is to submit your resume and apply at relevant companies’ websites that you wish to work at. Use Monster.com, Dice.com, or any job related websites that will get your name and academic experience out there. Also, use social networks like LinkedIn.com and even the treaded Facebook site. Basically, get some exposure.

    Once you’re in a company, do and be your best. Use the skills you used in school and tools such as Powerpoint, Excel, Word and anything else that gave you the power to represent your ideas. Develop a professional style that fits with who you are. Most importantly, never compromise your integrity by being a kiss up.

    Finally, find a mentor or someone who works in the field you’re interested in.

    As an alumni of USF’s graduate school, I’d be happy to share my experiences with the various ways of seeking and gaining employment. Be diligent and be patient.

    Good luck!

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  4. You are missing an opportunity that will always be available to you…..Don’s Helping Don’s……the USF mentoring website hosted on Linkedin. This site hosts USF Don graduates of all ages and all stages of life in their careers who help fellow Dons in a variety of ways, including networking for jobs, guidance and just being there to talk and bounce ideas off one anther. Check it out…..it will be time well spent. Mike Monroe …..USF class of 1970. BA in English.

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