Lauren Loop, who graduated in December ’18, talks with her boss at Mahoney State Park. Photo courtesy of Lauren Loop.
by Paize Uzzell
On Dec. 16, 128 students graduated with degrees ranging from education to biology to business.
Students graduated early for many reasons. Some found it cheaper to finish early, and others had their dream careers lined up and did not see a reason to stay for an extra semester.
“I graduated early to save some money, and I had been volunteering at my current job, and I had a job offer,” biology graduate Lauren Loop said in an email interview. “I am currently working at Mahoney State Park outside of Ashland.”
Some students, like psychology and behavioral science graduate Brooke McNiel, actually graduated late from Concordia. They spent the extra time in school to finish degrees that required classes not offered every semester.
While some students found themselves in a job right after graduation, others have been searching to find the right career.
“It has been challenging to even find a job,” McNiel said in an email interview. “Just trusting God and putting myself out there is the best way I am going about it. There are so many possibilities and opportunities of what I can do. I just pray about it, pick a door, and see where it takes me. I am learning to accept that it’s okay not to have it all figured out, I just have to be confident in who I am.”
Different opportunities have come to light for other Concordia graduates.
“I will be going to (physical therapy) school in July,” biology graduate Maria Deeter said in an email interview. “Academically, I was set up for success as I was accepted at three PT schools, including two schools ranked in the top 15 nationwide for PT schools.”
Students said Concordia prepared them to take on the real world in a positive way.
“Socially and spiritually, (Concordia) helped me develop as a person and made me realize my passion was to impact lives for the better,” Deeter said.
Other new graduates are relying on God to help them find their calling outside of college.
“I am unsure what my next move will be career-wise, but I have no doubt God will lead me. Whatever ends up happening, I just want to be serving God and people,” McNiel said.
The students said they owed their preparedness to different professors and academic advisors who cared for them as individuals.
Loop spoke of how Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Fruend was always available to help her, no matter the time of day.
“I had so many good professors, I also had an awesome advisor that I felt did such a great job,” Loop said. “I was able to ask her questions about the real world, and I could text her any day or night.”
The graduates also left advice for the students graduating from college in the future.
“Work hard and show you care. The professors appreciate it. If there is a professor that you have grown close to, write them a thank-you note,” Loop said. “If I didn’t have them I would have no idea what I am doing. I know senioritis is very real, but you can do it.”
The graduates said leaving the community of Concordia behind can be a hard transition but that having the right outlook can help a person thrive.
“Enjoy the great people at Concordia. I miss seeing a friendly face from a friend, teammate, professor and staff member each day,” Deeter said. “Also, hav(ing) a positive mindset for whatever journey you embark on next will be the key to success.”