Approaching Graduation: Hopes, Fears, and Reflections


Joel Sikora, Staff

As May 6 draws near, BV seniors have mixed feelings about graduation. While some students anxiously await the day when they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, others feel it is happening all too soon. As the soon-to-be graduates reflect on their education at BVU, those not graduating can learn how to better prepare for when their day approaches. 

“I am not ready. As much as I would like to say I am, I am not even close,” said Austin West, a digital media and public relations major. He has found himself in a situation that is not ideal. “Deciding where I have to go work—that has been a struggle so far. I cannot decide what I want to do or where I want to go,” said West. 

Although generally pursuing a career in sports broadcasting or public relations, West has not yet decided what he sees himself doing after college. Despite his uncertainty about whether he is adequately prepared, West has received encouragement from faculty. 

“Sometimes I think so, sometimes I don’t think so, but thankfully … we have people like [Jerry Johnson] and [Dr. Andrea Frantz] who will be like, ‘You’re fine, you have the skills, don’t worry about it.’ It’s good to have people like them to be the positive side when you’re not sure if you’re ready,” said West. 

Maggie Luong, a major in biomedical sciences with minors in chemistry and psychology, also found BV’s faculty to be an invaluable resource. “They helped me find internships and even apply for grad schools. Two of the professors especially helped to encourage me with my applications,” said Luong. 

Buena Vista provides students with opportunities to work with staff to achieve their goals. The Center for Academic Excellence and faculty advisors both act with the shared goal of helping students to make the most of their education. 

Nonetheless, there are some students who feel they’ve missed something. Like West, Max Murphy, a major in business marketing and secondary business education with a minor in digital media, found himself feeling somewhat unprepared. “It’s definitely come up a lot quicker than I thought, and I’ve been so focused on classes that I kind of forgot to look forward into post-graduation,” said Murphy. 

According to a BVU survey of the class of 2021, there is no apparent cause for concern, as 99% of graduates were employed, in graduate school, or otherwise satisfied with their career status within six months of graduation.  

Whether entering the workforce or graduate school, feelings of unpreparedness still grip some. Murphy, who plans to pursue a degree in sports administration at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, is wary of the adjustments required in moving to a new school. “Learning the ins-and-outs of financing, renting, buying my own food, paying for utilities … there [are] a lot of things I haven’t done at BV that I may struggle with,” said Murphy. 

A recent study by the Mary Christie Institute shows Murphy is not alone in his feelings. The study found that 39%, or roughly two-in-five recent graduates, felt inadequately prepared for life after graduation. A nearly equal number of respondents responded inversely. 

Personal finance resources, outside of courses, can be found online on BVU’s Planning, Tools, and Links page. While designed to help with financial assistance, some links will be useful to students preparing for their life after college. 

Additionally, BVU’s Career and Leadership Development resources aim to aid in career preparation, internships, or grad school, providing a solution to some other common issues students may face. 

For career preparation, students may find information through What Can I Do With This Major,  which provides a database of potential careers within a given major. Additional assessments, such as the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) and Focus 2 Career, can help to refine students’ career interests. Hiration, powered by AI, helps students with resumes, cover letters, and interview preparation. 

Students looking to practice interviews can take advantage of Big Interview, a platform on which students can participate in virtual mock-interviews. Alternatively, Career and Leadership Development provides personalized practice interviews for both careers and graduate school. 

Buena Vista University’s annual graduation ceremony marks the continuation of a cycle in which one class departs as another enters, emphasizing, for some, the time left to make the most of their education.