Opinion: Graduation is stressful, but not hopeless with UI resources

Students can feel overwhelmed by the pressures of graduation, but the University of Iowa offers accessible support for these stressed almost-grads.


Roman Slabach

The Old Capital from the roof of UIHC in Iowa City, Iowa on March 25, 2019.

Taylor Newby, Columnist

The anticipated end of each semester is overwhelming. There are final projects, writing assignments the size of small novels, disorganized group work, presentations that feel more important than the class, and full-fledged attempts to gather as much extra credit as possible in order to redeem one’s grades.

But for students whose steps extend beyond the grand gestures of an ending semester, there’s even more pressure. The University of Iowa works at lightening the load for seniors who are bearing the weight of an upcoming entrance into their next step into the workforce or professional school.

For those who are graduating come December or May, myself included, there’s more stress, pressure, and questions. There are job applications (how do you apply for a job in the real world?), the unshakable severity of a well-executed interview, and the question of where to even begin looking.

There’s the pressure of crafting an attractive résumé and a well-written cover letter. The experiences you’ve had in the last three or four years at the UI narrowed down into crisp, clear sentences that are a reflection of who you’ve been as a student and who you will be as an employee.

I have found in recent months — as I’ve asked hard questions about how to even move into the next chapter of my life —  that there is a small population of people at the UI waiting for me to ask for help. They can swoop in with advice, mock interviews, résumé and cover letter feedback, and job placement strategies.

It wasn’t until I was sitting with my advisor last month that I admitted to her that I’m all over the place, and not all too confident on where I’m headed after graduation come spring. Generally, I change my mind every day.

UI students have access to a number of people who are experienced, helpful, and care about the shape of our futures. 

But with the reality of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” catching up with me on our campus, in conversations and interviews, I’m in desperate need of people who understand the craze and can offer me direction. 

I’ve learned that Pomerantz Career Center is a well of resources for UI students seeking career services. I remember being introduced to the building during my freshman year and forgetting almost immediately what it was there for. (Sorry, Pomerantz.)

But in recent months, I’ve recognized the majesty of back-up help from people who are paid to empathize with flailing almost-grads.

There are people at Pomerantz who are ready to sit with students, navigate career trajectories, and compile all of our experiences at the UI into marketable résumés. There’s networking opportunities, mock interviews, and help in applying to professional schools.

Whether it’s advisors, professors, or people at Pomerantz — UI students have access to a number of people who are experienced, helpful, and care about the shape of our futures.

We don’t have to navigate what’s next for us on our own. We get to sit with people who understand what we’re walking through because they’ve already walked through it.

We get to ask questions, daydream about careers, build résumés, write personal statements, apply for jobs or professional schools, and take the next steps in big and small ways. And we get to do all of that with the assurance that we have people on our team that are rooting for us.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.