Life beyond graduation

Making preparations for post-graduation life

David Armour, Staff Writer

A sign advertising job openings at SPU’s Center for Career and Calling is shown in the Student Union Building on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. (Gemma Cannon-Green)

As the school year winds down, students at Seattle Pacific University are beginning to prepare for their life after their classes. For seniors, this preparation is especially bittersweet as they exit college and enter into a difficult job market where there’s no guarantee that they’ll find a good career.

To fourth year applied mathematics major Evan King, the job market is tricky to navigate and uncomfortably competitive.

“Honestly, it just feels less hopeful than I thought it’d be. I was always told that there’d be competition but not this much. I’ve been in school for what, 17 years? But I’m still not ready for it,” King said. “Sure, I’m excited for a job, but it’ll be a weird transition. There’s been a few interview questions that I didn’t expect at all, such as an analytics position asking me to program something. I get why they’ve been doing this, but it was still unexpected.”

Other students, such as general studies major Sophia Pook, are much more optimistic about their future opportunities.

“For me, I feel pretty optimistic about the job market – I’m taking a class about career paths and internships right now. My dream job is to become a forensic scientist, so it’s not as certain as other jobs, but there are good resources at the university that can help,” Pook said. “I don’t feel completely confident, but I’m not totally unsure either. I’m somewhere in the middle.”

To business marketing major Nicole Baker, jobs are not too difficult to find if one knows where to look.

“I think that there are a lot of job opportunities right now. While I haven’t exactly been searching, it feels like if I wanted to get a job, I could,” Baker said. “Not easily, but I’m sure that there’d be availability. I don’t necessarily know where my opportunities are. I’m assuming that they’ll be in bigger cities due to my major, and I’m moving out of state to look for work after I graduate.”

Even among more optimistic students, there is still concern over potential inexperience and future career paths. Many workplaces look for experience that college students have yet to acquire, which can be a cause of stress for graduates.

“I feel like college education is a big advantage in this market, but I’m unsure if I have enough experience in my field yet,” Pook said. “I’m trying to get around this by looking for an internship in a lab, but starting from scratch is always hard. I’m looking forward to graduating and looking hard for a career path.”

Likewise, even the more cynical students hold some hope for their potential career prospects. While the job market may be competitive, workplaces are still hiring and opportunities still exist even if they are rarer.

“There are always gaps in the market, but things are still hard,” King said. “Your biggest opportunity right now is probably to demonstrate a willingness to work in person and the frequent job fairs, but there are still a bunch of problems. I like the environment of Seattle, but it’s going to be hard to live here.”