As graduation quickly approaches on May 3, Florida Southern College seniors are feeling mixed emotions of excitement and stress about their future.
Although FSC offers many opportunities for students to prepare for the real world, such as internships and programs at the career center, many are still nervous about the uncertainty of their future.
“They will be going from the comfort of an environment that works with them and helps them every step of the way to being on their own and having to succeed – if that doesn’t make you nervous I don’t know what will,” Xuchitl Coso, Director of the Career Center, said.
Some seniors agree.
“I don’t think anyone is ever fully prepared for life out in the real world, but I would say with confidence that I’m ready for whatever lies ahead after graduation,” David Tomchinsky, a broadcast senior at FSC, said.
He believes graduating from college is one of the biggest things that happens in a young adult’s life.
“A lot of my time was taken up by athletics but I was definitely able to squeeze in everything I wanted to over the years,” Tomchinsky said.
He has learned that it is important to work hard with your school work and what you love. Tomchinsky had the chance to combine his love of sports and passion for broadcasting by working on the school’s sports show.
“As an English major I was taught by the best,” Evan Byrnes, a graduating senior, said. “I’ve matured as an individual and grown up incredibly in only four years. I think I know myself much better than I did when I got here in 2010.”
All students are guaranteed an internship in their four years at FSC. Students still wonder if their internship is enough preparation for a real job.
“I wish I had gotten involved in more organizations earlier in my college career,” Erin Bell, a public relations senior, said.
However, Bell believes that her academic experience has helped her.
“I think I did gain useful experience. Every once in a while I do realize I’m using things I learned,” Bell said, “I’d like to think that the last four years have given me all the knowledge and skills I will need in the real world, but I won’t really know until I’m there.”
The career center offers many programs for students of all years to prepare for their future.
“We start from when students are here their first year to help them understand this preparation is a process,” Coso said.
She explained they help students with resume building, networking and interview skills.
Local companies look for students that took advantage of these opportunities.
“Some students look good on paper, but do not do well interviewing,” Danielle Woodward, a recruiter at GEICO, said.
Her advice for interviewing is to be able to verbally explain your experiences and how they relate to the job.
Companies also believe networking is critical to finding a good job.
“Students need to meet people and expose themselves to companies,” Gregory Shell, regional vice president at Auto-Owners insurance, said. “Once you get the interview, study the company and practice your interviewing techniques.”
Students seem to be on the same page about what is important to focus on while in college.
“Find out what you love doing, and follow that passion,” Tomchinsky said.
Bell shares similar advice, “Make sure you love what you’re doing and get all the experience you can doing that, both on campus and off.”
Byrnes believes students should take advantage of what the campus has to offer.
“There’s an incredible amount of support staff and extra resources around campus that are totally under-utilized,” he said. “Take advantage of the opportunity you’ve been given to achieve higher education. Not everyone gets the same one.”
Many seniors tend to not understand or believe fully in their skills yet.
“Don’t sell yourself short because you have accomplished a lot just by graduating,” Coso said.
E/N: In the past, David Tomchinsky has both written for The Southern and, for a time, was a member of staff.