May 9 will mark more than just a celebration of accomplishment. It will also bring to light the panic for graduates of what is next.
As the economy tightens, and the hefty number of students crossing graduation stages, the National Association of College Employers says, “Employers expect to hire 22 percent fewer graduates than last year.”
At least five UMHB students know their next steps.
Business management major, Elliott Powell, will go to graduate school at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif., for a degree in college counseling and student development.
He said he hopes to eventually work his way up into a university vice president of student affairs position. As he works toward his degree, he has received a job at the university’s office of Student Success.
Planning for this began when a friend encouraged him to pursue a master’s in college counseling and student development.
“I never saw myself being completely happy while working at a business, but I will love working with college students,” Powell said.
He said UMHB has helped with the transition by providing him many opportunities.
“It’s really easy to get plugged in here, and I think my involvement on campus really helped me get a job,” Powell said.
As the time gets closer, his excitement is building.
“I always knew I wanted to try something brand new after graduating, and I definitely think this is it,” he said. “This will give me a wonderful opportunity to grow as an individual because it will put me out of my comfort zone.”
Nursing major Angela Wass’ post-graduation plans include a 16-week internship as a pediatric intensive care unit nurse at Scott and White Hospital in Temple.
She wanted to stay in the area. So when she got the official job offer in March, Wass was thankful God answered her prayers.
After her rigorous training through the College of Nursing, she said it has more than adequately prepared her for any nursing career.
Wass said she is excited to begin using what she knows.
“I cannot wait to start and see what God has planned,” she said. “It will also be a challenge to see how well I can do on my own.”
Trained to care
Athletic training major, Laurie Martin, will apply her classroom experience to life as she becomes an athletic trainer for Lorena Independent School District.
The recent confirmation unnerved her and brought great joy.
“I am really excited to be going out into the ‘real world,’” she said. “Of course, I am a little nervous because I am going to be the only athletic trainer at the high school. But I know that I am prepared and have a great support group to fall back.”
Martin said her years at the university will be used well.
“I believe UMHB completely prepared me for this job and interview,” she said. “From the mock interviews to the outstanding athletic training program, I have gotten so much hands-on experience with the athletes, which really helped with the job search.”
Kids, sport and Belton
Sports management major, Daniel Bucher, caught a break and is already on the fast track of employment.
He has been working full-time since January at Belton Christian Youth Center. Bucher serves as the recreation and facilities coordinator and heads organizing, promoting, supervising and operating soccer and basketball for Belton and surrounding communities.
“This job is exactly what I studied for. It fits me perfectly, and I was astounded by my perusal and acceptance into this position.”
Bucher plans to serve at BCYC until God calls him elsewhere. Meanwhile, he will enjoy working with kids and giving them opportunities to participate in sports.
Missions and teaching
Dreaming of far-off places, special education major, Emily Mize, prepares to teach in Senegal, Africa.
After spending the past three summers there and much thought and prayer, she started investigated teaching in the area.
“I looked up Dakar Academy and saw they had a job opening for a special education teacher,” she said. “I prayed about it, talked to my parents and applied. I can’t deny God’s hand in the whole process.”
She also agrees UMHB has primed her for the next phase.
“I’ve gotten a great education and am prepared to enter a classroom as the teacher,” Mize said. “I can’t say I’m not nervous, but I feel that everything I have experienced the last four years has prepared me for teaching on the mission field.”
As graduation approaches, Mize described it as bittersweet.
“I know God has great things ahead, and I’m ready. I get to live among a people I already love, and I get to live there long enough to learn the language and share Jesus. What could be more exciting,” she said. “At the same time, I’m scared. I’m moving half-way around the world. I will be in charge of students. I’m going to be living where I can’t communicate with most of the population. I will have to learn a new way of life. There will be so many changes.”
“I’m also sad,” she said. “This chapter of my life at UMHB is almost over. I have to say goodbye to my friends, some who I may never see again. I will also be saying goodbye to my family. They will no longer be a short car ride away.”