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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

Former UNCA students share their post-grad realities

Design by Evannes Edmonson.

UNC Asheville’s core values are to produce well-rounded, worldly individuals who are prepared to take on their future endeavors with the skills and knowledge they obtained while in college. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe 3 years ago, many students have found themselves altering their post-graduation plans, and trying to navigate their next steps in life with the tools given to them by UNCA.

Chloe Paino, a 2022 political science graduate, has since moved to Boston, and said she’s actively applying her degree to help in her career. 

“I currently work at a consulting firm, where writing and the ability to articulate ideas and thoughts is truly very valuable. I do think the social sciences highlight those skills,” said Paino. “Studying political science taught me how to better write and critically think.” 

The UNCA Career Center, located in Ramsey Library, was founded with the goal to prepare students for the realities of post-graduation. UNCA’s web page contributors describe the career center as a resource that helps future and current graduates achieve impactful goals with employers on a local to global scale.

They can also assist with major and career coaching, improvement of interview skills, resume and cover letter building and general networking advice, according to the career center officials. 

“I was very eager to begin my career search while still at UNCA,” Paino said. “It was really important for me to know what types of careers or jobs I could pursue as an entry level, new graduate.”

2023 graduate Jeannine Krug recently moved to Concord, NC and is currently utilizing her mass communication degree as a marketing and intake team member for a law firm, while also training to be a case manager. 

“UNCA’s career center is amazing. They offer so many opportunities to learn more about different career paths and how to market yourself in a job search,” said Krug.

Krug said they assisted her by proofreading cover letters, drafting resumes and allowed her to participate in the Spring 2023 Career Trek trip to Washington, D.C.

“I learned a lot from the classes I took as extracurriculars. The New Media 101 class I took for fun has helped me out tremendously,” Krug said. “There are aspects of my job that are relevant to my degree, but also many completely new things I am learning. I think it is the soft skills you learn in college, and when collaborating with peers, that are the most important to success in the workplace.”

Former student athlete Jessica Brock graduated this past spring, majoring in psychology while also earning a minor in mass communication and chemistry. She has plans to further her education and attributes a lot of her assistance to the community and resources she had while at UNCA.

“I still keep in touch with my coaches and some of my professors. Coach Lykins helped me with recommendations on where to move and jobs to find,” Brock said. “Professor Foo is also helping me continue research I was working on before I graduated.”

In today’s developing society the value of a college degree has been highly debated, especially with the emergence of remote and internet-based jobs. Though UNCA has seen a slight decrease in graduation rates within a 4-year period between 2020-2022, the rate for graduation within a 6-year period has increased in that time. 

“In this climate and economy, you have to have a degree, or really good connections, to get where you want, but I don’t necessarily think a degree is everything,” said Brock.

Though faced with the realities of the workforce in such a tumultuous time in history, these graduates express their appreciation for all they benefited from UNCA in their time here. 

“I was extremely lucky to have strong relationships with my professors, where I was able to talk to them about my future goals and make plans to best reach those,” Krug said. “I am so grateful to everyone who pushed me to be better at UNCA.”

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