More than 800 Southeast Missouri State University graduates received degrees last week. Many already have plans for the future: jobs, further education, travel. Some, however, are entering the job market in these uncertain economic times. Considering the less-than-rosy news about bailouts, bankruptcies, layoffs and mortgage foreclosures, these graduates may be more than a little concerned.
They also have reason to be optimistic.
Yes, this is a season for caution and careful planning, but Southeast graduates have a powerful tool: a college degree in an era when a well-trained work force is still highly prized by employers. Students who have availed themselves of the educational opportunities afforded by Southeast and who have made the most of internships and other hands-on learning opportunities are well-situated to find their way along the paths to jobs.
They also can take some satisfaction from the fact that they have demonstrated the ability to succeed by sticking with their pursuit of a college education. Many of the lessons they have learned about the real world as students will serve them well as they pursue careers.
Finding jobs in some areas may be more difficult in an economic downturn, but the demand for college graduates in other areas still exists, and without a college degree today's applicants would be less likely to work in the field of their choice.
Good luck, Southeast graduates. You have worked hard to get your degrees. Getting a good job may be just as hard, but the rewards are worth it.