Graduation anticipation: What lies ahead for Flagler’s seniors


By Roxie Steward |

With graduation on April 29, the reality of beginning a career is starting to sink in for some Flagler seniors.

Although walking across that stage and receiving a diploma means the end of all the hard work involved in the college years, it also represents the beginning of “the real world.” For some students this is thrilling, but for others, it’s quite the opposite.

One place Flagler students can turn in times of career crisis is Flagler’s Career Development Center, which is run by Tara Stevenson. Stevenson has been working in the department for almost eight years and has seen many students come and go, some onto careers right away and others struggling to reach that next step.

“You can tell the students that take the time to either meet regularly with our office or who make it a priority to dedicate time and energy to their professional development and their job search, that those are the ones that are more successful,” she said.

Stevenson warns against students who see this last year as something “they just need to get through” because she knows, statistically, graduates are having to wait a long time to find a job. By wasting this year not working on resumes and job searching, she says, can lead to an even longer job search post-graduation. In fact, according to Stevenson, on average it takes a college graduate around six months to find a job.

The biggest roadblock in these jobs searches, Stevenson said, is resumes.

“There are a lot of times when I get students and recent graduates to come in here and they say, ‘I need help, I’ve just been applying for so long and I’m not getting anything,’ and we open up their resume and right off the bat I can be like, ‘Well that’s why you’re not getting anything back,’ ” Stevenson said.

Savannah Coursey is a senior at Flagler who leans more towards the “nervous” category when it comes to feelings about entering the workforce. Her biggest fear is getting comfortable in a career that pays more but isn’t what she ultimately wants to do.

“Overall, I just don’t want to get stuck in a job I don’t like,” she said. Her dream job is to work for a music magazine and plans to return to a place she interned in Nashville after graduation and will try to work her way up from there.

It isn’t all fear, though. There is some excitement in regards to graduation.

“It’s the first time in your life you aren’t training for something,” she said. Coursey explains how, although she fears what post-graduation life will hold, she’s ready to start “calling the shots” for herself.

“I’m tired of training to be a person,” she said.

Joanna Constantine is able to view this transition from a different perspective, seeing as this is her second time graduating. Constantine is a non-traditional student at Flagler and already graduated college in 2007 with an education degree. After she graduated, initially, it took her two years to find a job as a nanny where wasn’t able to make enough money doing and had to work a second job. After realizing while sewing a dress for her niece, that she was interested in costume design, she started the college journey again as a theater major.

This time around, she has an internship lined up after graduation with the Lightner Museum and after, she hopes to work in costuming for a few years, go to graduate school, and eventually teach costume design at the college level. She does have fears, though, that she won’t be able to get a job after her internship ends.

“I work as a server now,” Constantine said. “And I don’t want to keep doing that. It sucks.”

She believes having a flexible plan will help her succeed after she graduates.

“As long as I can find a job doing what I like, I don’t care where it’s at,” she says. “I don’t have kids to tie me down, I don’t have a husband to tie me down, I can just go wherever.”

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