Seniors evaluate their years on campus, look to post-graduation world

VN photo by Devonne Mccullough


With the semester closing, many seniors are preparing to head out and get jobs.

For some, this preparation means following their five-year plans. For others, it means a last-minute scramble.

The global pandemic has changed the plans of Jennifer Lorenz, a senior nursing major minoring in leadership.

Before the pandemic, she was a person who always had a plan. But she has learned a different approach to life now.

“I’ve learned that you really just have to focus on the present,” said Lorenz. “It’s great to have goals but (don’t) dwell on them because your whole world can change in an instant.”

After graduation, she plans on taking the NCLEX exam for nurses and land her first nursing job.

She doesn’t believe she will have a problem getting a job during the pandemic due to the nature of her profession.

“However, I am nervous to be starting out my career in the middle of a pandemic,” she said. “Nurses are facing resource shortages, increased patient numbers and, of course, the dangers that naturally come with the profession are heightened with the risk of contracting the virus.”
Lorenz did her required clinical rotations in a hospital. She also has been a homecare nurse aide outside of school.

She believes that she has gained helpful experiences while building her resume.

The last four and a half years have helped her grow.

She is “incredibly grateful for everything I’ve learned both academically and in my personal growth,” she said.

One recommendation: Lorenz wishes there were a mandatory life-skills class focused on personal finances, budgeting, doing taxes, building credit, etc.

Alexis Fleming, a senior communications major, is optimistic about finding a job after she graduates.

“It took me a while to get here but I couldn’t have asked for more support than I’ve already received from my professors and counsellors,” she said. “I don’t have a five-year plan but with Covid going around I will say it has made me think of the future without knowing (whether) things (will) ever be normal again.”

Her college experience has taught her a lot, and she has had excellent internships to help her progress, she said.

Fleming noted that she has met amazing people and learned that hard work can help one reach her goals.

Gina Peruzzi, a senior biology major minoring in leadership, plans on taking a gap year to work full time and gain more experience and clinical hours to prepare for her application for a physician assistant school.

Peruzzi works as a screener for Covid at Beaumont Hospital.

Much like Lorenz, she is not concerned about keeping the job because due to these times.

She described her college experience as wonderful.

“I have been challenged to go out of my comfort zone with academics, allowing me to become a well-rounded student,” said Peruzzi.

Peruzzi is thankful to her professors.

She said they are passionate about the classes they teach and have offered her a lot of guidance. She also appreciates her values-based education and that community outreach has been part of her schooling.

Peruzzi focused on earning her clinical hours by working a few different jobs in the hospital, some of which were volunteer positions.

She is also part of the PrePa club at Detroit Mercy, which she found informational.

It has allowed her to stay motivated and continue on track.

Daniel Russo, a senior business administration major minoring in leadership, plans after college to get a stable job in his field but believes with the current economic situation and job market it may be difficult.

But first he plans on taking time off to hike the Pacific Crest Trail before going deeper into his job search. The hike will take five months.

When it comes to the job that Russo currently holds, he is not concerned with keeping it because it is an essential business that doesn't put him at risk.

Russo is, however, aware of statistics that show one-seventh of all college students graduate with a business degree, leading to market saturation.

He has heard stories about how people with similar degrees haven’t found jobs related to their major two years after graduation.

Russo believes he could have gotten more from his education with more direction on his part.

He feels as if most of his learning has come outside of the classroom but he does add that you get what you put in.

“I learned in class and the actual world,” he said. “For the price of tuition, time commitment and loads of classes I was forced to take that have nothing to do with my major, I don't feel college has prepared me for a career in business.”

He said that while his non-major, core-required courses make him “feel like a well-rounded person …, I don't think any of them will translate into marketable skills in the real world.”

Russo said he has taken steps to prepare for post-college life, especially during quarantine.

He has learned about coding and running a website, and has begun practicing marketing techniques, such as search engine optimization, website management, analytics programs and other areas of digital marketing.

Russo said his five-year plan changes every few months, but it involves finding a job in marketing where he can work remotely and to better his skills.

“Being non-location dependent is very important to me, as I love to travel and move around a lot. This way I can work wherever and prioritize my home life,” said Russo

He also plans to start putting away money for retirement so he can get a head start.

Getting married and having children early – not in his plans – would force him to reevaluate everything.

Looking back at his years on campus, Russo has some suggestions.

“We should have heard from more people in the field and given actual insight, not just inspiration, that we can succeed if we work hard,” he said. “That being said, I'm sure that college has helped me somehow, but I'm just not in a position where I'm able to see it.”