Whatcha gonna do?

By By Beth Ranschau

By Beth Ranschau

I want to be a dog-walker. Either that or join the circus.

These are the only suitable answers I’ve been able to think of in response to the dreaded question: “What do you plan on doing after graduation?” It’s a question that I seem to be bombarded with daily now that graduation looms just around the corner. Replying that I’ve always dreamt of being the bearded lady in the circus usually saves me a few seconds before they realize I’m kidding.

But the truth is, if I hadn’t abandoned my hopes of traveling with the Ringling Brothers and decided to apply to law school, I’m not really sure what I would do with my degree.

And I’m not alone. Across campus, there seems to be a general consensus: Students have no idea what to do after graduation. We just barely declared a major, now you want us to do something with it?

So, what can students do to prepare? Surprisingly, a lot.

I found that there is a wide range of resources for students that are simply not utilized. For instance, students interested in graduate school can meet with a specialized adviser. A pre-law or pre-med advisor will help you prepare applications, research schools and can direct you to a variety of other resources.

Moreover, the university’s Continuing Education program offers numerous prep courses for tests such as the GRE or LSAT to get students acquainted with the exams that can make or break an application.

The U also offers various information sessions on applying to graduate school and applying for financial aid for post-graduate work.

Tired of a life dictated by exam scores and GPAs? For students who are ready to get into the workforce, the U offers an abundance of internships for students even post-graduation.

For example, the Hinckley Institute of Politics places exceptional students with political campaigns and local organizations. These experiences often teach students invaluable skills that are easily transferred into the workplace. While an internship won’t guarantee the six-figure income you might have been hoping for, it often enables students to make important contacts that lead to more professional opportunities later on.

Perhaps one of the best and least utilized resources for graduates is the career services center. Easily accessible online at careers.utah.edu, this center offers many tools to prepare for post-graduate life. These tools include: advising, internships, job searches, rsum tips, a list of jobs by major, mock interviews and career fairs. The graduate assistants in career services will even go so far as to review your rsum and help you look up jobs by salary.

“Career services is here to build the skills that your undergraduate classes probably didn’t teach you,” said Aimee Haley, a graduate assistant in career services.

While some students may feel hopeless about what to do with a philosophy degree, Haley assures that “many general majors are marketable, and we (graduate assistants) are here to help students realize how to market those skills.”

When it comes down to it, a great job isn’t just going to jump into your lap. Like most things in life, it takes a little bit of an initiative. The good news is that the resources are all there; it’s just a matter of taking advantage of them.

Hopefully, after tapping into these resources you can find a job post-graduation that doesn’t entail facial hair or dog feces. Unless that’s your thing.