Thoughts from Tutors

So You Graduate in May…Now What?

By J.J. Taylor
Master Tutor

If you are graduating in May like I am, you might be starting to get a little overwhelmed as you try to determine what to do after obtaining that degree you have been working so hard to obtain. There are two major options available to you: go to graduate school or get a job. Let’s take a look at each option to determine which one might be the best fit for you, and how you would go about implementing that option.

Is Graduate School Right for Me?

Depending on your major or career path, graduate school might be something you have to do. For instance, if you are planning on becoming a pharmacist or occupational therapist, these programs typically follow obtaining your Bachelor’s degree. However, even if your anticipated career does not require graduate school, that does not mean that it is not a good choice for you.

Many companies that you might work for prefer for their managers and leaders to have at least a Master’s degree. The good news as that these companies will usually cover a portion, if not all, of the bill for you to go back to school. However, the down side is that you will be forced to complete your school work in the evenings or on the weekend, and that is after working forty hours a week. If you are like me, that does not sound too appealing. For that reason, I chose to obtain my Master’s degree on my own, and while I do have to pay all of the tuition myself, I will not have to go back and try to go to class and do homework while also holding down a full time job.

So what type of Master’s degree should you get? Well that depends on what you want to do with your life. Again, if your anticipated career path is specialized, then the choice is already made for you. If you are like me, however, I obtained my Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, which most organizations do not require anything higher. Therefore, I decided to get my MBA in the new program that the Rawls College of Business created for Science, Engineering, and Technology majors. If your undergraduate degree also falls into the class then perhaps you should consider this program as well. It gives STEM students instruction on how to not only run a business, but also how to work with different groups of people.

I Think I Would Rather Just Get a Job

Graduate school is not for everyone. Maybe after working hard for four to five years on your undergraduate degree you are ready just to get out there and reap the benefits of your work. Understandable. The question now arises as to how you are going to find that perfect job. There are many different ways to get your name out there and connect with companies; let’s talk about a few.

The first resource that you should use to try and land that interview is your school’s career center. Many of the colleges found at Texas Tech have their own center for connecting students and employers. They also will provide education such as “How to Write a Résumé” and “Good Interviewing Tips”. Go and see if your major has one, and if they do use it to your full advantage.

One event that should always be a priority on your calendar is campus career fairs. I know for a fact that the College of Engineering and the College of Business hold career fairs at different locations around Lubbock every Fall and Spring semester. These events bring in numerous big name companies, and they are there simply to hire people like you. Make sure you attend all of these events that you can, it will do nothing but help you.

Do not feel that you have to restrict your job searching to in-person events, however. Many companies post all of their positions online, and actually encourage you to go to their website and apply for the job you are interested in. By taking advantage of job applications posted online, recruiters are able to take their time looking over your résumé, without all the distractions that are present at job fairs. This could definitely work to your advantage. Both of my internships came from applying online, without ever talking to a representative of the company until it was time for the interview.

I Have Some Thinking To Do…

While the options and methods I have listed here is not an extensive list, perhaps they will help you to determine what path you want to take. The most important thing to remember is to pick your path and then commit to it. While you may be burned out on school by the end of your undergraduate career, if graduate school is what you need to do then give it just as much effort, if not more, than you did obtaining your Bachelor’s. On the other hand, if the workforce is a better fit for you then get out there and line up as many interviews as possible. You never know which one will be exactly what you are looking for.

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