WJBF EXTRA: What’s Next For The Class Of 2011?

WJBF EXTRA: What's Next For The Class Of 2011? (Image 1)

By Kait Rayner

Graduation…it’s the start of a new chapter, and a time of hope. But, for many graduating seniors, getting handed a diploma is when the anxiety really kicks in.

Kait Rayner, reporting: “Hundreds of students pass through this quad at USC Aiken…many of them graduating. But, as the reality of finding a job sets in, some of them are packing their bags, moving away from home, and even out of the country.”

And…not always to start a career…sometimes, to avoid one. This is Jessica Cochran.

Jessica Cochran, USC Aiken graduating senior: “I’m a biology major, I'm also an art minor. I’ll be graduating in just a couple weeks. I want to go to dental school one day, but kind of in the meantime, I was looking at what I can do, and I found the Peace Corps.”

She’s planning on spending 2 years abroad to give herself more time to figure out the next step…because she’s not quite ready to take it.

The spirits of many students graduating in 2011 have been dampened by the bad economy, troubling unemployment numbers, and the sudden realization that you don't always get to do what you want to do.

It’s driven students like jessica to find an alternative like the Peace Corps, but it’s pushed others past the point of frustration.

Inside USC Aiken’s Career Center, it's an attitude Corey Feraldi hears all too often…

Corey Feraldi, USC Aiken director of Career Services: “Anxiety of a tough job market, fear of rejection, when they do launch a job search and they hear no for the first time, that’s hard for a lot of them.”

Feraldi says most graduates are still looking for a job, but he sees more and more pushing it off.

Feraldi: “As the economy has gotten tighter, a lot decided to go to graduate school, several decided they’re just going to take off for a year.”

And for many, that means moving back home.

Feraldi: “These are boomerang kids, because they go off to college and then they come back home. Over 50 percent, nationally, expect their parents to play some kind of role financially with them after gradution.”

But, there are jobs out there. Feraldi says students need to know where and how to look.

Feraldi: “Well, you’ve got to have an objective. They need to kind of figure out what would they like to do, because a student who just goes, 'I'm open to anything', really actually limits their job search because it doesn’t focus the job search. But, it's really about not only postings, that’s part of it. It's about targeting and matching yourself to the types of places you can see yourself working for, and it's networking.” He also says utilizing the help of job seeking professionals can often be the key to success.

Cochran: “I would love to just stay in school.”

USC Aiken held their graduation ceremony last week.

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