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Features Students talk job hunt post-graduation

Students talk job hunt post-graduation

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a recent college graduate must be in want of a job, preferably one with decent pay, benefits and a great location. At this point, most students will take what they can get, even if that means less-than-glamorous work, low pay, no benefits and located anywhere.

As students at The University of Southern Mississippi gear up for graduation Dec. 12, some are unsure of where exactly they will go after graduation, while others seem confident in their plans. With the United States still recovering from economic slumps and government shutdowns, students may be worried about the availability of jobs.

What are job prospects looking like right now, and should students be worried? Is it actually wise to take an extra year, or two off, before heading to the world of adult employment?

Slate.com reported earlier this year that about 8.5 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed. What may be more frightening is that about 20 percent of those who manage to find jobs are making less than $25,000 a year, while 40 percent of graduates are doing jobs that do not require a degree.

In short, if one does have a job after graduation, that person may not make much money, and has taken out loans for a degree of little value. With the average college debt in Mississippi at $27,322, according to projectstudentdebt.org, finding a good job
seems paramount.

Marquiece Cunningham, a senior computer science major graduating in December, has already recognized the possibility of not being able to do what he loves.

“I am worried, but not because of the frequently criticized condition of the economy and job market. My concerns stem from me crossing into an industry with no relation to my major,” Cunningham said. “I’m currently working to find a job in the distribution industry coordinating the shipping and receiving operations of a distribution center. After a couple of years down the road, if it still aligns with my career path, I’ll be going for a masters in business administration or logistics/supply chain management.”

Shannon Sessions, a senior business administration major also graduating in December, has a plan set for after graduation. “I’ll be moving back home with my parents. I don’t want to go to any more schooling, so I am hoping to have a job by the end of January,” Sessions said.

And although she does not have a job already lined up, Sessions appeared confident in her ability to find work.
“I’m not worried about finding a job because I already have two places where I could have a great career,” she said.
Information systems, graphic design, fine arts, video and photography and architecture are all included in the top 5 of therichest.com’s “10 College Degrees with Worst Employment Prospects.”

Humanities traditionally have a small number of jobs with a large pool of applicants, so students in these fields may have a tougher time finding jobs and may be encouraged to seek specialized degrees.

Dru Mozingo, a senior political science major, is planning to do just that.

“I am hoping to go to graduate school for a Ph.D. in political science in fall 2015. I’m not as focused on the job search right now because I’m planning on going to school after USM,” Mozingo said. “I’d like to go to the University of Texas at Austin, Vanderbilt University or Georgetown for grad school.”

Mozingo’s enthusiasm seems to echo that of students across the country who, despite the difficulty of finding a well-paying job in their chosen sector, still see the benefits of getting a college degree, especially in a subject for which they have a passion.

Mary Beth Wolverton
Mary Beth is a senior at The University of Southern Mississippi studying English and history. She is involved in CSA, Greek life, the Southern Miss Speech and Debate Team, USM Honors College, and studied abroad during summer 2014.
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