Life After College

Billy Ferguson/Fourth Estate

Mason senior students share their plans after graduation


Most college students have heard the cliche phrase that once a student graduates, they are “stepping into the real world.”

It all becomes part of a flashback as you reminisce about orientation day or the first day of school as a freshman in college, the nerve-wracking feeling of getting to meet new people and roommates and having to decide which student organization to join and be part of within the Mason community.

Looking back can bring nostalgia, but looking to what the future holds for graduation is exciting.

Graduation is a time of cherishing the moment, but for some seniors, these celebrations do not seem to be happening.

Shelley Mendoza, a senior majoring in criminology law and society, said, “I feel like I’m not graduating because I have always been in school, so that is the scary part for me, of how it will feel the next day after grad.”

Post-graduation plans can vary from person to person. Some may have a summer internship, an entry level job or go into grad school, while some might take time off. Others might not have a solid plan, but intend to work through the opportunities that are available.

Mendoza said, “I’m joining the airforce for four to six years to get some experience, and then I will apply for the FBI and law enforcement. To get into the FBI you need four years of experience, and I know that having [a] military background will help me get in.”

Tamera Toney, a first-generation psychology major with a concentration in clinical and educational psychology, said, “I’m ready for the next step. Right after grad, I will be pursuing my masters in [the] School of Psychology to become a licensed school psychologist.”

Going into college as freshman, students do not often think about plans for their future post-graduation. Instead, college becomes a process for exploring new opportunities, expanding horizons to help society and networking.

“When I started college, I wanted to be an educator or psychology professor, but when I learned about the school to prison pipeline and school psychologist role in dismantling it,” Toney said. “I decided to go that route.”

Other students, like senior Golsana Ziaee, who is majoring in criminology, law and society, continue to add future plans after graduation. “Because of my major, it is hard to stick to one choice, but that is why I have open options,” she said.

“My plan after graduation is to be in a local police department as a K9 officer to get some experience for few years, and then go to a federal job,” Ziaee said. “My goal is either the FBI or DA office.”

Ziaee is also looking into applying to law school either at George Washington University Law School or Georgetown Law School.

Having graduation in less than a month can make students feel all over the place, but soon seniors will be walking across the stage, ready to step into a new chapter in life.