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Navigating the Post-Graduation Life: Challenges and Resources for College Students

With fall graduation looming, many graduating seniors are balancing excitement with fear. The joy of earning a degree can be overshadowed by an overwhelming transition that includes searching for a job in a competitive market, finding an affordable place to live, meeting new friends and colleagues, and staying mentally and physically healthy.

College students today face an array of challenges as they navigate the transition from academia to the professional realm. As college students strive for success on multiple fronts, the balancing act becomes a defining characteristic of their journey beyond the classroom.

Work with light: I placed my phone above my chest to capture this picture; wide shot.

Cutline: As students face the challenges of going through college they are also faced with preparing for graduation and starting a plan so that when they hit graduation they feel more confident with their future. (Picture Credit: Yessica Matadamas)

As they set out on the journey post-graduation, the pursuit of a promising career is often overshadowed by the formidable task of job hunting in a fiercely competitive market. Simultaneously, the weight of student loans persists, necessitating the mastery of budgeting skills that prove elusive for many. Over time, student loans have increasingly gone up by 0.55% and continue to affect students pursuing a higher education. Here are some of their findings from 2022-2023:

  •  “93.1% of all student loan debt was federal; 6.9% belongs to private borrowers.”
  • “The average public university student borrows $32,637 to attain a bachelor’s degree.”
  • “20% of all American adults with undergraduate degrees have outstanding student debt; 24% of postgraduate degree holders report outstanding student loans.”

For students venturing into the post-graduate world, the search for affordable and suitable housing becomes a stress-inducing mission. The balancing act becomes the distinguishing feature of their path outside the classroom as they fight for success on several fronts. Amidst these challenges, college students can find solace in the form of various resources aimed at easing their transition into the professional realm. A resource that many do not know of is My City, an apartment realtor service, that proves to be an indispensable ally for students seeking affordable and suitable housing options. This resource streamlines the otherwise daunting process of finding a place to live, offering guidance and assistance tailored to the specific needs and financial constraints of college graduates. This service is offered to college students but it is also offered to anyone who is seeking to find affordable housing. The process to speak with a realtor or even schedule an appointment with someone who can assist in this area is pretty simple. Chris Day, a team member at My City, said “We can communicate with you (college students) to really narrow those (options) down and really hone in on your search and help you find what you are looking for.” This service is done through email, text, or in person so students have easy access to the team.

One such resource is the local food bank, a vital support system for students grappling with financial constraints. The food bank provides a lifeline for those struggling to make ends meet, ensuring that no student goes hungry while pursuing their dreams. The Southside Community Center provides a healthy meal each day around 4 p.m. In addition, they also provide people with shelter if they are struggling to figure out their living situation. According to their website, “Once a shelter room opens up, we sift through applications and search for the candidates who would be the best fit for our program. Once accepted into the program, clients must pass drug and alcohol screening and sign a contract for a 30-day stay that is dependent on their cooperation with our staff and rules. During this period clients are required to look for work and save money. We allow for a total of 3 months at the shelter,” allowing for future residents to have some time to plan out their next step. This is one of many fears students face before graduating college and packing up their things to move out of their college apartment or dorm. Fatima Hernandez, a sophomore at Texas State, shares her story about her living situation after college. Like Hernandez, most students are unaware of some of the resources provided outside of campus.

Capture a moment: I stood right behind the subjects to capture this picture and positioned my phone at the center of my body; wide shot

Cutline: One challenge as a college student would be budgeting your groceries and making sure to stay under your budget. ( Picture Credit: Yessica Matadamas )

Plans after college

Career counseling services offer guidance on job hunting strategies, resume building, and interview skills, empowering students to navigate the competitive job market with confidence. Recognizing the importance of a holistic approach, universities are increasingly focusing on the mental and emotional well-being of their graduates. Counseling services and support groups create spaces for students to share their experiences, seek advice, and foster a sense of community during this transitional phase. Yarelis Nieves, a graduate student at Texas State, has had the pleasure in getting help from McCoy, one of the colleges in Texas State University. She states, “I do know that McCoy has really good resources for before and after you graduate…I go to their office and ask if they can help me when it comes to career search, that is the main use I go for because it is a bit hard to get a job right now, so they help you connect with the right people.”

The desperation of finding the right career can be daunting to many students who are struggling with getting connected within their field. Like Nieves, insecurity creeps from behind when graduation is right around the corner, and realize it is almost time to go into adulthood. Texas State provides resources to give a helping hand to students struggling in this area. The career services located in LBJ is a prime example of one of the services offered to college students. At the career center, students are able to discuss their future plans with an advisor or if they have no idea what they plan to do, the advisor formulates a plan that can spark some kind of interest. Over the years, they have helped numerous students who want to succeed in their career goals. To learn more about this service, visit Texas State University’s website. Yasbeth Perez, a junior at Texas State, expresses her concern about finding an internship to potentially obtain a full offer after graduation.

Rule of Thirds: I went to the second floor to capture this picture; wide shot

Cutline: A very important building to go to when you are not sure of your career path is LBJ’s career services office. There are countless opportunities for you to learn more about. ( Picture Credit: Yessica Matadamas )

As college students embark on the journey beyond the classroom, they encounter challenges that extend far beyond academic pursuits. However, with the availability of these resources and a resilient spirit, students can navigate post-graduation life, striking a balance between professional aspirations, financial responsibilities, and the pursuit of a well-balanced lifestyle. The post-graduate years become a period of growth and adaptation, laying the foundation for a successful and well-rounded future.

Work the room: I was standing on the side of the subject to capture this picture; medium shot. ( Picture Credit: Yessica Matadamas )

As a way to prepare for school, Julia Rivas takes time to go through her to-do list to make sure she keeps up with school work and personal work. ( Picture Credit: Yessica Matadamas )

Shot with depth: I focused my camera to blur out the background and stood on my toes to get this angle; short shot

Cutline: There are a couple of ways students can buy a balanced meal or snacks while staying under their budget. It is all about understanding what is right for you and making sure you only get what you need for that week’s groceries. (Picture Credit: Yessica Matadamas)

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