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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

With spring commencement around the corner, seniors say they are feeling excited, anxious

UC Davis offers resources and opportunities to set students up for post-grad success


By REBEKA ZELJKO — features@theaggie.org 


Spring quarter is approaching, and along with it, the impending graduation of much of the class of 2023. 

Minerva Padilla, a fourth-year managerial economics major, expressed that her time as an undergraduate UC Davis student was worth the hard work. 

“I’m feeling so accomplished,” Padilla said. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, four years passed?’ I’m also a first generation [college student], so everyone in my family is like, ‘Wow, you are the first of all the grandkids!’”

Padilla said that as one of six siblings, she hopes to set an example for them to also go to college. 

“I decided to go to college because it was kind of pushed on us in my classes,” Padilla said. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and I didn’t want to put the financial stress on my mom, especially since there are so many of us. But now that I’ve looked back on it, I’m really glad that I came because I feel like I’ve learned so much that I can apply in life.” 

Andrea Sanchez, a fourth-year psychology major, said she is feeling a lot of anticipation as her final months at UC Davis approach. 

“I think I’m equally nervous and excited,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t get to fully enjoy my time here because I transferred here during COVID, but I’m also excited for this next chapter.” 

Sanchez expressed that a big part of the nervousness she feels is about her post-graduation plans.

“It’s super nerve-wracking to go job hunting,” Sanchez said. “Especially because a lot of places expect you to have experience, and I’m pretty much at an entry-level position.”

To ease the uncertainty, Sanchez took advantage of the opportunities available to students on campus.

“I went to a lot of job fairs and resources on campus, so I definitely feel more prepared for the workforce,” Sanchez said. “They helped me with job searching, resume building and you can meet a lot of employers ahead of time to see what they expect from you, and so you don’t have to go through it blind.”

Marcie Kirk Holland, executive director of the UC Davis Internship & Career Center (ICC), wants graduating students to keep in mind what an accomplishment it is to have made it this far, even as they search for jobs and prepare for post-grad life. 

“It is [important] to remember that they have made it through a four-year degree from UC Davis, and that demonstrates a lot to employers and potential graduate programs,” Kirk Holland said. “It shows that [you] can set goals and stick to them even though it’s difficult at times, or if they have to pivot. It shows they have what it takes to persevere, and that is highly transferable to any profession.” 

Kirk Holland also highlighted the resources the ICC has available for all students.

“We have a wonderful advising team,” Kirk Holland said. “[Students] can also make an appointment with one of our career staff through Handshake […] and we have a great offering from a Youtube channel. [It covers] all sorts of topics, from what to wear to an interview to how to build a resume. There’s really something there for everyone, and we offer several [videos] in Spanish and Mandarin.” 

Students can also take advantage of the ICC career fairs hosted once every academic quarter. 

Even with these resources, though, the job search process can be intimidating to some. Sanchez said that she was initially overwhelmed by the process, but the ICC was able to help.

“I wish I explored those resources more,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t get to until this year when I was more familiar with campus, and it made my experience go by a lot smoother. I want to emphasize to not be afraid to use and enjoy the organizations and resources available to you. Just don’t be afraid to go out and use those spaces; they are for us.”

It’s not only the resources that set up graduating students for success but also the experiences they have shared. Padilla said that UC Davis enriched her life in many ways during her four years as a student. 

“I really made Davis my home; I feel like I found myself here,” Padilla said. “Everyone is so nice, and since I met all my best friends here, I really associate it with a part of who I am.”

With the school year coming to a close, Kirk Holland offered some advice for the graduating class.

“I think part of it is being clear about what you want and what is important to you, then looking for jobs that reflect that,” Kirk Holland said. “It’s about finding work that [you] find meaningful, and considering things like where do you want to live, how much do you need to earn and so on. It’s about feeling confident about your options.” 

Padilla said that it’s important to remember that everyone’s academic journey looks different. 

“It’s not linear for everyone,” Padilla said. “It’s okay if it takes a little longer than you expect. I don’t like the idea that people all expect to graduate in exactly four years. I failed my first class here, and I was so bummed out. But like, it’s real, it happens, sometimes classes are hard, you just [have to] look at it and think back on what you can do better. You learn from it.”

Written by: Rebeka Zeljko — features@theaggie.org