Student Life Column

Seniors, what you’ve done does not dictate where you can go

Grappling with uncertainty, soon-to-be graduates could be feeling the bind as May approaches.

How seniors make the “most” of their remaining four months at school is something of a balance, as they juggle coursework with exploring job options and maximizing their social lives before leaving campus.

The cornerstones of the final semester of college can be broken down into three categories: peers, professors and projections. It’s an equilibrium we all can reach.

Establishing lasting ties with other students or co-workers is something any student can stand behind. That said, where and how these connections come to fruition is something else entirely. Continued nights spent at Chuck’s Cafe or traveling off-campus is, most won’t deny, a fun time.

But using other students around you as a resource may serve one better in the long run. Classmates and friends are in a similar boat, lest they forget, and engaging each other may lead one down a completely new direction.

Not knowing someone formally is no reason to not strike up a conversation.

Starting these professional relationships with a faculty member also provides insight into a field a student may wish to go into. It is never too late to get in touch with professors to ask for advice or feedback. Many students may feel the need to stay in their lane of study, but history doesn’t need to be an indicator of what students can or may want to do in the future.

It’s Baldwinian to suggest seniors are trapped in the history of their choice of major. Seeking the counsel of professors outside an individual department may serve more than expected. Those formative relationships may even transcend being on campus.

Even down the road, faculty members can be guides as each student wades into the ambiguity of next year. This ambiguity — where we project ourselves moving forward — may equate differently for everyone. The job market is expected to fall flat this spring, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ 2017 Outlook Survey, which places continued pressure on graduates to secure post-school positions.

But the idea of a given major resulting in a particular job is not how the career market exclusively operates these days. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 55 percent of survey respondents in the beginning of 2017 remarked they would train workers who do not have experience in a given area. Graduates wanting to have studied something different may find a given degree does not immediately need to line up with an area or sector of interest.

Walking the line of embracing the resources available at SU now and keeping an eye on the looming dénouement of May is no small task. Moving on means having the drive to find what’s out there. As Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner coined: “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Brendan Germain is a senior television, radio and film major and French minor. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at bngermai@syr.edu.

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