Where are they…Now?

Lisa Falconer

Lisa Falconer

Whether you are a freshman or fifth year senior, somewhere in your mind is the thought of life after graduation.

Many students are anxious to get out of school and into the working world. They are sick of homework, professors and possibly even their roommates.

In their opinion, it is time to move on.

On the other hand, many people fear what is to come once they walk across the stage in Frost Arena.

Will I have a job?

Will I have to move far away?

How much will it pay?

These are some of the questions racing through the minds of many college students.

Then there are those who are wondering if their major is really the one for them. Maybe they chose it as a freshman just to have something but now that it is their junior year, they may think it is too late to switch.

Three SDSU alumni, who all graduated last May, describe how they felt before and after graduating from college.

Heath Abraham, Darcy Andersen and Jen Burns went from nervous freshman to successful employees in a matter of a few years.

Heath Abraham

Heath Abraham, 23, graduated with a major in sociology and minors in criminal justice and military science. He now serves on the police department in Madison.

According to Abraham, the most beneficial part of college is the social skills a person learns. He thinks it gives you a chance to interact with different people and their beliefs.

“Yes, the classes are important too, but the skills you learn in between those classes will help you more in the long run,” Abraham said.

Abraham was not worried about finding a job after college. He knew there were available positions in the area. He researched before graduating to find all of his possibilities.

College graduates are typically known for obtaining a four-year degree but many people are going longer than that.

Abraham suggests that you stay in college as long as you can afford it. He believes the average tuition should be reduced.

“Take as many classes as you can. Pick up another minor or two. If it didn’t cost so much, I would tell everyone to attend college,” Abraham said.

Emotions of the graduating class vary just weeks before the ceremony.

Many students are excited to be done while others are sad to be leaving. Abraham, like many seniors, had mixed emotions about accepting his diploma.

“I was nervous yet happy to be graduating. Looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my college experience,” Abraham said.

Darcy Andersen

Darcy Andersen, 23, graduated with a major in Communications Studies and Theatre, emphasis in Radio, Television and Film. She also obtained a minor in Journalism during her four years at SDSU. She currently holds the duty of the morning producer at KELO in Sioux Falls.

While studying at SDSU, Andersen felt anxious to graduate and move on with her life. Now that she has, she wishes she could go back to college.

According to her, the lifestyle was very relaxed, you always had people to talk to and the responsibilities were minor.

Another thing that comes with leaving SDSU is leaving many friends.

Andersen still talks to most of her college friends but admits it is hard to keep close ties while having a full-time job.

“My advice would be to not hurry through school. You must make sure you’ve chosen something that you really enjoy doing,” Andersen said.

During her senior year, Andersen worked part time at KELO television station in Sioux Falls. After receiving her degree, she was hired as their morning producer.

Currently during the week, Andersen works from 12:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. gathering news stories, editing them and placing everything in order.

While attending college, Andersen was a bit worried of what was to come after leaving Brookings. She knew the job market did not contain many options, especially in her hometown area of Sioux Falls.

“I wanted to stay fairly close to home. In the beginning, I don’t think I could’ve made it without knowing that my family and friends were right there for support. They helped me get my feet out the door,” Andersen said.

Jen Burns

Jen Burns, 23, graduated last spring with a nursing major. She currently works as a registered nurse at Merit-Care Hospital in Fargo, N.D.

Her first two years at SDSU brought about many new friendships with not only the people in Brown Hall but also her fellow classmates. She always enjoyed the dorm life simply because if you were bored, all you had to do was walk down the hall and there was always someone around.

“For those of you in the dorms, enjoy it while you’re there. It’s when you make the strong friendships that you’ll be relying on when you move off campus,” Burns said.

Throughout the first two years, she did not think too much about finding a job after receiving her diploma, but once her third year came, she realized that soon enough she would be forced to enter the working world without any advisor to guide her.

It was then when Burns met her most inspiring professor at SDSU, Ruth Klawiter. She recalls how encouraging Klawiter was not only for her, but also for many of her classmates.

“Ruth was not only concerned about your education, but she also cared about your life outside of school. I could talk to her about anything and she was always there to listen and give her advice,” Burns said.

And often it’s that time outside of class hours that is the most relevant to a student’s life after graduation.

Keeping balanced in both academic and extracurricular realms, however, takes the kind of effort that can make a college career fly past.

“Now looking back on college, I can’t believe how fast it went by,” Burns said.