Life After College: The Real World

By: Mariah Brooks

You have been waiting for this and it is finally here. It’s graduation day. You have prepared for this day for the past four or five years and now reality is about to hit you in the face. College is over and it’s time to step into the real world.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) – It seems just like yesterday you were walking into the admissions office going to orientation. Everything was so new and exciting, these were the first steps to your collegiate career. Although college wasn’t all studying, there was some playing involved. The toga parties, beer pong, reading day parties, and spring break will be memories you will  never forget.

Adapting to the social life after college could  be difficult. Friends start to leave and you may outgrow the college scene. Figuring out a new social scene could be challenging but you should be open to trying new things and making new friends. WebsiteS like eCampus offer advice on how to adapt to life after college. The article suggest ways to shed your college habits and embrace a new type of lifestyle.

This is where it all begins

Although some students are anticipating graduation, others like Brandon Dunlap are nervous and pressured to make a decision about what to do with his life.  Although Brandon doesn’t go to UTC, the senior from Nashville said ,“ My parents are constantly pressuring me to make a plan and stick with it, but I just don’t know what I want to do.” This isn’t uncommon for most students, who feel the pressure from family and friends to make a decision. However there  are ways students can get guidance to figure out what they want  to do.

At UTC ,the career counseling center in the University Center provides students with assistance to getting on the right track. There are also websites like the Stepcase Lifehack that give advice for college students who are about to graduate. I think the best advice the website gives is to network. Networking is  such an influential part in making your way into the world and something that will help get your foot in the door.

Go here for guidance

Another way to prepare for the real world is to make sure to have a good resume. All my professors have stressed how important it is to have a good resume.  The resume is the first thing an employer sees before they even look at you. This is your shot to show your future employer that you have the credentials and skills to do the job. Everything from the paper, font, style, and the wording has to be perfect. There are plenty of books and websites that offer advice for having a good resume. I also suggest asking one of your professors to go over your resume before going on an interview.

Time is winding down and it is time to enter the real world. However do you feel prepared? Are you ready? These may be some of the questions you ask yourself, and i’ts okay not feel ready. For four or five years now, we have been on a mission to graduate. It’s finally over. It’s time to move on to the next mission.

The new mission starts with entering the  job market. The job market for college graduates can be kind of tricky. The advice that I have been getting from graduates recent and old is to start applying now, and do a lot of internships. Internship are very important in developing contacts and getting a job. There are some occasion your internship will offer you a job, if they have a position open upon your graduation.

Hanging out in the student center

We are now on the hunt for a job; however, there are some things we must prepare for and that is the expected pay.  The average salary for college graduates in Chattanooga,Tenn is $40,000 according to the Simply Hired website. The average salary for Nashville, Tenn is $43,000. All of this is dependent on experience and the type of job. The website also provides average salaries for different salaries in different cities.

Another reason it is so important to find a job after graduation is student loan debt.Our parents and family are not the only ones waiting for the day we graduate. After graduation we have around  six months until we have to start paying our students loans. Yep we have debt and although it was a good investment, somebody has to pay it back. Student loans can take many years to pay back. Look at this article on MSN to prepare yourself for the next few years. There are also websites such as Kiplinger’s financial advice that provides advice and other websites to manage your student loan debt along with other life finances.

We have spent four or five years studying our major, but unfortunately for some of us, this major will not matter. A lot of college graduates face this dilemma. Many employers don’t care if you graduated with business finance degree, or communication degree. What they want to see is skill and experience.

Therefore many of us will have to settle for an entry level job.It would be nice  to have our dream job coming out of college but chances of this happening are very unlikely. Many college graduates are on a mission to having a career versus a job.  Most jobs coming out of college are the stepping stones to attaining a career.

It has been a couple of months and you still haven’t heard back from any jobs. This isn’t uncommon for many college graduates. In fact,  jobs are scarce no matter how many degrees you have. The economy has negatively affected the job market and this isn’t good for recent graduates. Some advice students may be getting is going ahead to grad school after college .

Some students are furthering their education and going ahead to grad school. Considering the current job market this doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Although some students are considering the possibility of grad school, there is still some worrying about the job experience.  However there are some employers that encourage and  pay for employees that are interested in furthering their education. This is a good way to gain job experience and go to grad school.

Your competition is inside this building

Congratulations to making it this far and I will see you on the hunt for a job.

UTC Students Prepare for Life After Graduation

By: Janay Roberson

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop)—Graduation is intended to be a great accomplishment to anticipate. Many students have stayed up long hours to study for exams, finish projects, and even put their personal lives on the back burner to succeed in college. Most  are ready to graduate, but for others, reality is sinking in and it’s beginning to bother them.

Some students are nervous about finding a job after college and moving to a new city. Others feel like they are losing their college support system  and having to move out on their own. Students who stay on campus and graduating in May from UTC have a few days after graduation to move out.graduation1ik9

Some students aren’t in a rush to be completely on their own. Even though moving back home may not be at the top of most students’ lives, there can be some pros for moving back in:

  • Students may not have to pay rent or utilities
  • Gives students the opportunity of saving money
  • May be able to work for a previous employer while back at home
  • Don’t have to worry about spending money on furniture
  • Gives students the opportunity to spend time with family that was lost while away at school

Amanda Standefer is a Human Resource Management major from Dunlap, TN who is graduating in May.  She is like any other college student who has enjoyed the college life, exams, homework and the experience of meeting new friends. The only difference between Standefer and other college students is the fact that she has been staying at home with her parents since she started school in 2006.

“I drive an hour every day to get to school. So I am comfortable with staying with my parents. I will definitely be staying there after I graduate until I start my career but I’m in no big hurry, Standefer says.”(misplaced quotation marks)


Moving back home just doesn’t sit well with too many college students no matter the benefits that it might have.  Latasha Spears, who is a Finance major from Memphis, TN, says that moving back in with her parents after graduating in May is not an option. Spears is currently working at BlueCross BlueShield in the security department. She is interested in moving closer to her family between Memphis and Nashville, but refuses to move back in with her parents.

“I have been living on my own for a while and I can’t put myself in a situation where I know I will be living off of anyone else,” Spears says.

UTC anxiously await for Graduation day

UTC anxiously await for Graduation day

With the down  economy and the job market to match it, some students are looking forward to grad school. Standefer is definitely considering graduate school in the fall after working in the summer to save money.

“I feel like the economy is bad,” Standefer says. “I feel like nowadays a college degree is basically like a high school diploma so graduate school is the best way to go.”

 After a student graduates and see that they are ready to apply to a graduate program, they need to first figure out what the best programs are for their major. According to, the top five graduate schools of business are:

Harvard University is in the top graduate program for Business according to

Harvard University is in the top graduate program for Business according to

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. University of Pennsylvania
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  5. Northern University

In Spears’ case, she doesn’t believe that graduate school would benefit her because she is looking to follow in her father’s footsteps. Spears’ father has been an owner of a chicken wing restaurant for the past eight years and she is looking to become owner of the restaurant one day.

“I want to be my own boss. I’m going to be an entrepreneur so me attending graduate school is not necessary,” Spears says.

For Criminal Justice major Talesha Wade from Milan, TN, graduate school is not even a question. “For my major, I have to go to law school, so the only problem that I’m facing now, is getting accepted into graduate school,” Wade says.

On May 2nd, UTC students will walk across the stage to receive their diplomas and start their journey into the real world. Some students will find themselves scrambling for ideas and opportunities that will lead them on the right path to success for life after college.