Graduation isn’t what it used to be.
There are still the caps and gowns, the long speeches and the fact you can’t just go crash in your dorm room afterward.
But for many students, graduation is not a sharp demarcation between four years of carefree student life – intramural flag football games, fraternity parties and, of course, studying – and a future of job hunting, entry-level jobs and the real world.
Cal State Fullerton’s recent Grad BBQ exuded the requisite sense of relief that years of hard work were coming to an end and nostalgia that years of fun were coming to an end.
But many students have already blurred the lines between their pre-graduation life and what comes next. Some are already working in their chosen field, or a close approximation. Some already have children. And some will head back home with some part-time work experience they hope will boost their job prospects.
Raquel Rubio, a full-time student holding down a full-time job, isn’t feeling the pressure of many graduating seniors about what to do now. She already knows. She works as a relationship manager at Bank of America and hopes her political science degree gives her a leg up versus more seasoned employees and perhaps a better chance at a promotion.
“It’s a different feeling,” said Rubio at the traditional barbecue lunch on the Golleher Alumni House patio. “The degree is a bonus.”
She’ll go home after graduation as always but won’t have to study. She’s pretty happy about that.
“It’s very exhausting.”
Troy Stockton might be a little bushed too. He and his wife, a full-time UC Irvine student, are expecting their third child just as he’s graduating in kinesiology.
“I’m scared. I’m terrified,” he said.
But he’s been doing an internship to prepare for a career in athletic training, hoping to work with professional athletes, particularly in mixed martial arts, to increase their performance and decrease their injuries.
“I’m going to step off one platform onto another and go up from there,” he said.
Likewise, Jose Penaloza has been working part time at Hector Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana, coaching track and field as part of his kinesiology degree.
“I’m excited about the future,” he said.
Zoila D’Lynn is also working already, taking care of a woman with dementia as part of her major in gerokinesiology.
“I feel really excited. It’s been a long…