Nov 292011
Authors: Colleen Canty

Employment doesn’t seem to be high on December graduates’ wish lists this Christmas.

With last December’s 0.2-percent increase in Colorado unemployment looming over graduates’ shoulders, some students have the perception that few jobs are available during the winter months.

“Students sometimes think looking for a job around the holidays is bad timing,” said Andrea Karapas, a career counselor at CSU’s Career Center. “But businesses are putting their budgets together for next year, and this can actually be an opportunistic time.”

According to the Career Center Director Ann Malen, the lower number of graduates in December compared to the spring tends to include a high percentage of students taking the following semester off.

“Finding a job then becomes a student’s job,” Malen said. “But you can use the Career Center services up to a year after you graduate, so I encourage them to come on in.”

While Karapas and Malen advise against losing momentum after graduation, some students aren’t embarking on a job search just yet.

Instead, they’re traveling the world and playing some soccer.

Despite the daunting unemployment numbers of last year, Becca Sears, a senior environmental physiology major, has no hesitations when it comes to probing the job market for those seeking the freshly graduated. She doesn’t plan on facing it for years.

“My hesitations mainly are with whether or not I am ready for the real world,” Sears said. “But I just signed a contract to go play premier soccer with the Chicago Redstars for a year. Graduating in December is making it easier to be able to go out and participate in preseason training and have a shot at being a starter.”

If she isn’t losing sleep over finding employment in the dead of winter and fresh out of college, one may wonder what “real world” anxieties awaits at the end of her pro-soccer stint. For Sears, they’re few and far between.

“After I am done with all of that, I plan to either resign (from the Redstars) or sign with another team,” she said. “And after I am done with soccer, I plan to join the Peace Corps.”

While Sears’s post-graduation plans will involve herself in areas a fair distance from the world of academia, other December graduates, like senior Spanish and human studies and family development major Taylor Whitley, find themselves on an extended winter break before the final frontier: graduate school.

“By graduating in December, I give myself a break from school for a semester and will be ready to start again in May,” said Whitley, who applied for an elementary education master’s degree at the University of Northern Colorado. “If I were to graduate in the spring, I would start grad school the Monday after graduation.”

This “mental break,” according to Whitley, is opening up a semester-long period in which she plans to travel and prepare herself for the rigors of graduate school. But while she views graduation as a time in her life offering “endless possibilities and opportunities,” there’s something to be said for the unity that graduating in the spring generates.

“More importantly, you aren’t graduating with your friends; it is tough to be the first one of your friends to graduate and face the real world,” Whitley said. “I think everyone recognizes that college is an amazing time in our lives, and many people don’t want that to end. And therefore (they) won’t rush graduating.”

Collegian writer Colleen Canty can be reached at

Job Searching Tips

Identify where you want to live: start your job search in the right place.

Decide on your boss: choosing between nonprofit, corporate and federal government jobs will help narrow your search.

Use the Internet: CareerRAM lists job postings and internships in the Rocky Mountain Region. CareerShift allows users to search for national and international jobs based on several criteria.

Don’t know what you want to do? Here are some options: teaching English abroad, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Teach for America.

For more tips and advice, visit

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