I’m about to graduate: What’s next?


Karina Salgado,

With spring graduation only two months away and soon to be a CSUEB alumna, the only thing on my mind is: What comes next? After spending the last six years of my life walking around the East Bay campus and feeling like graduation was centuries away, now that it’s rapidly approaching, I keep questioning myself about the next direction I need to take in life.

Family, teachers and friends told me that in order to be successful in this country, I needed to attend college, but now that I’m almost done and will soon possess a communications degree, I wonder about the next step I need to take to guarantee myself a successful future. After having this conversation with almost every other classmate, I came to see I’m not the only student feeling unsure about what I should invest my time and energy into after graduation.

I remember a conversation I had with one of my colleagues two months ago where she asked what my plans after graduation were. As soon as she asked that question I paused. The first thing that crossed my mind was a moment of realization — graduation was just around the corner and not a century away anymore. So I instantly asked her what her plans after graduation were. She said she was still unsure, but more than likely she was going to find a corporate job somewhere.

Coincidentally, the next day during one of my class lectures, the instructor asked the students to raise their hand if they knew what career path they were going to take after graduating college. A few students raised their hands, but many kept them down. Right after analyzing all the hands that were not raised, I knew I was not the only person in this campus feeling confused about life after college.

Now that I find myself searching for the perfect diploma frame, tassel and cap and gown, it’s sad to say goodbye to the school that changed my perspective in life through valuable learning experiences. Instructors and counselors tell me it’s not easy to find a career job right after graduating college. They say statistics prove that theory, so where does that leave us, the graduating students? The fact that I hear that phrase on a weekly basis leaves me fearing the moment I grab my diploma and walk down the stage the day of my graduation commencement.

For a few months, I was not looking forward to graduating college because the future no longer felt secure. After graduation, I will pursue a career in the media industry. I will start a business, I will travel around the world, I will share my story and I will be the woman I proposed myself to be.

College is a chapter in life that prepares us for the future. It is also a chapter that has an ending, which needs to be concluded for individuals to continue with their lives and be who they are destined to be. Cal State East Bay, you will be missed. Thank you for the opportunities, the friends, and the way you positively changed my life. Go Pioneers!