What’s next after college? The dilemma to find a future career

Students are on track to a cap and gown. Then what?


Carina Arroyo

Fourth year economics major Malachi Powell sits at a table outside of Lassen Hall and Java City Roundhouse on Friday, April 22, 2022. Powell said he has an unsure but positive outlook towards what his future career path may be after earning his undergraduate degree.

Carina Arroyo

Sacramento State students are unsure of what their next move is after graduation. From freshman to senior year, students are faced with the burning question, “What are you going to do once you graduate?” 

Some students may be able to answer this question quickly as they venture through undergraduate studies and pinpoint their desired career path. In contrast, others still have no answer as they near the end of their academic years. 

“I’m unsure of what I still want to do, but I think I’ll have an easier time getting a job,” Saraia Jackson, a  junior majoring in economics, said.  “I just don’t know what that would be.”  

Jackson is currently a student assistant in Lassen Hall, a position that she said has helped her learn the ins and outs of a professional office but without the hands-on experience. Regarding what path she would like to seek in the future, she said she is unsure about the many directions a degree in economics can steer her and where she will choose to go. 

Jackson is not alone in being hesitant when thinking about a career after graduation. Some students have said they believe they are receiving the proper experience but lack confidence in securing a job following graduation from the university. 

Third year economics major Malachi Powell said he also feels unsure about what he would like to pursue following his graduation  next year. As he weighs out the pros and cons of future options, he balances a myriad of experiences he can derive from his collegiate years.

Powell is currently co-host for the student-run podcast “Mic’d Up Students” and a Phi Beta Sigma fraternity member at Sacramento State. 

“I feel that from the fraternity I’ve acquired life skills, [and] values,” Powell said.“I’ve learned how to communicate, and now I know how to work with other people.”

With all the experience gained while enrolled in the university, Malachi said he is still considering which direction he will follow after completing his undergraduate program. 

Sacramento State’s Career Center located on campus aids students in finding career paths within and after their years at the university.  

According to Career Center director Melissa Repa,  the center works to provide students with career counseling and advising, ranging from finding career paths, building resumes, preparing for interviews and more. 

“We have career counselors who use career exploration processes to help students identify what their values, interests, strengths, and skills are and it is really much an iterative approach and process,” Repa said.

The director gave advice to students still wondering what their future career looks like and what their next step to join the workforce can entail.

Repa emphasized that the Career Center recommends students get involved in internships and experiential learning in order to attain experience and explore different fields no matter the student’s major.

“It depends on the person, but it’s all about the experience,”  Repa said. “When you engage in an internship, a part-time job or a project, everything that you’re doing is giving you the career skills that employers you apply for later on are going to really be looking for.”

Keeping up with the Career Center’s employer events on campus such as the career fair and following the center’s Instagram account can give students and alumni resources and advice on how to kickstart a path to a career even if they are not sure where to begin, according to Repa.

While many students are still wondering about their futures, others have a solid path in mind for their careers after earning their respective degrees.

Catharina Agudo, a third year film major, said she plans to obtain a master’s degree after her time as an undergraduate. According to her, she owes her confidence in her future to her student internship and club which helped her gain a positive perspective on life after graduation.

“There are so many opportunities on campus. You just have to look or ask about it to your advisors or colleagues,” Agudo said. “I think students can prepare themselves for life after college by joining internship programs that are related to their degree.”