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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

December graduates prepare to enter the workforce


Graduating senior Emily Hernandez feels bittersweet about starting her career virtually.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and its limitations continue to be in effect, December graduates remain hopeful for what may come as they start a new chapter in their lives.
With virtual environments becoming the new normal, many graduating students will be entering the workforce from inside their homes.
University studies senior Emily Hernandez said she feels bittersweet about beginning her career entirely virtual.
“Working from home is very comfortable and allows for a more flexible schedule, but I definitely feel more connected to the projects that I’m working on when I have a personal connection with the other team members,” Hernandez said. “I think this will be my largest challenge to overcome.”
Finance graduate student Josh McKerall will be completing his fifth and final year at Texas A&M this month. McKerall said though he will be missing out on the full experience he once anticipated, he feels fortunate to have a job waiting for him.
“I’ll miss getting to experience things like lunch with my coworkers and creating those relationships, so I’m pretty bummed out that I’ll be starting my career from home,” McKerall said. “Really, I just feel lucky to have a job in the first place, considering how the pandemic has affected the job market.”
Marketing senior Shayla Ward said she had to continually remember the consequences of the given circumstances before securing a job.
“Before I had something lined up, I just had to remind myself that I wasn’t necessarily the problem,” Ward said. “It was just an inconvenient time to be entering the workforce.”
While Ward hopes an in-person work environment returns sooner rather than later, she said she believes this situation will have benefits.
“I’m hopeful that even though the pandemic is setting me back, it will make me better in the long run,” Ward said. “Being able to pivot so quickly and still succeed shows a lot.”
McKerall said even though he, too, won’t physically be where he imagined, he still has faith in how he’ll grow throughout his first few post-college years.
“I’ve heard so much from older friends about how the first few post-grad years are a time for you to learn a lot about yourself,” McKerall said. “Even though I’ll be stuck at home, for the most part, I’m hopeful that I can still put myself out of my comfort zone and take some chances and try to grow as a person.”
This year, Hernandez said she grew in ways she was not expecting, making her eager for what the new year might hold for her.
“I know that this year has helped me grow into a more responsible person having to adapt constantly,” Hernandez said. “I am eager to see other areas I can continue to improve on as I enter competitive corporate America.”
Although the worries of the unknown might seem to overshadow the victories of graduating, students are still looking forward to the perks of working full-time. For Ward, she said she’s looking forward to focusing on a job and making a living on her own.
“I’ve never been able to focus on a job without also having to worry about school in the back of my mind,” Ward said. “So I’m excited to be able to solely focus on work for once.”
Hernandez said she encourages students to take advantage of how the A&M community allows for infinite networking opportunities and support throughout each Aggie’s life, especially in these uncertain times.
“My best advice would be to take in every opportunity to introduce yourself to your professors, classmates and extracurricular peers, even if it is over Zoom,” Hernandez said. “‘Once an Aggie, always an Aggie, and our culture to help one another is like none other.”

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