Advice for the newest crop of graduates

HAMMOND- More than 1,300 Southeastern Louisiana University students will close out their college careers on Saturday, Dec. 11, as they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. What does the future hold for these new graduates? Will there be jobs for them? What has life been like for the other recent graduates and what advice do they have for this newest crop of graduates?

“Start looking long before you graduate or find an internship in your field of interest,” said Kate Bradshaw, 2007 Southeastern graduate.

After graduating in marketing with a minor in management at Southeastern, Bradshaw is currently the special events coordinator for Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting. Graduating from a smaller high school in Baton Rouge, she chose to start off at a smaller university with plans to transfer to LSU, but soon changed her mind.

“I loved Southeastern,” said Bradshaw. “I absolutely believe Southeastern prepared me for my future because there is such a well-rounded curriculum for students to learn and experience.”

Another recent graduate, Theresa DeMelo, graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in visual art. She has fulfilled her goal of becoming an art teacher at Art Time in Mandeville and selling her artwork at local art shows.

“Southeastern helped me get my resume ready for galleries and gave me the confidence to put my work out there,” said DeMelo. “Apply to jobs related to your major because that is where you will be the happiest.”

Caitlyn Driscoll graduated this past spring in education and has landed a teaching assistant position at St. Clemont Rome in Metairie. Although it was not what she had in mind, she believes this is the first step. After searching all summer, and going on interview after interview, Driscoll said she started to become discouraged but believes this was the best option.

“I’m actually glad I ended up with a teaching assistant position instead of being thrown straight into teaching all on my own,” said Driscoll. “I will feel more confident and experienced since I have been working side-by-side with someone who has been teaching for many years. It paid off to be patient.”

Graduating seniors have less than three weeks left, and “senioritis” has been rapidly spreading.

“This past month has been slowly creeping by,” said Brice Gray, business management. “I am ready to walk across that stage.”

Gray is one of the 1,300 who will be graduating in a few weeks. Although he does not have any jobs lined up, Gray said he will start sending his resume out when he graduates. One aspect of Southeastern that he will take with him, is the personal relationships the professors have with their students.

“It kept reminding me that obstacles will emerge and even though you won’t always enjoy doing what’s thrown in front of you, you still need to complete the course to be successful,” said Gray.

Many seniors have different plans after graduation. Aaron Gutekunst plans on attending graduate school. Gutekunst graduates this December in organizational communication and already has an internship and graduate assistant position lined up.

“My advice would be to get involved with organizations on campus,” said Gutekunst. “I love the community. Being involved with stuff all over campus, especially a fraternity, really helped make college an amazing experience for me.”

One of the many campus resource centers, Career Services helps prepare students for the job market by assisting with writing resumes or providing help with interviewing skills.

“I wasn’t too good with my interview nor resume skills,” said Driscoll. “Career services helped me to be able to create a great resume that reflected who I am and what I have to offer. It’s a great resource that students should take advantage of.”

As the graduation cycle continues, more advice gets handed down to the next group who will leave Southeastern in search of their next chapter, taking a little piece of Lion Pride for their journey.

“Remember that everything you join, every job you have and everything you commit yourself to should in some way support what you want to do later in life,” said Gutekunst. “Experience is the best teacher.”

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