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International students who have received a diploma of higher education. Photo by RUT MIIT on Unsplash.


Graduating students share their fear of the unknown after college

With fall graduation just around the corner, students graduating from the University of New Mexico and other universities may encounter a new set of obstacles upon completing their current college career.

JahJett-Lyn Chavez will be graduating with two degrees: one in family and child studies and another in psychology. Chavez’s biggest concern after graduating is being able to pay for graduate school.

Chavez intends to continue her education through the graduate program at UNM but worries about the lack of scholarships available for graduate students. She said she was able to pay the entirety of her undergraduate degrees via scholarships, but she won’t be able to do the same for her master's degree.

“That’s a huge concern, and now I have to take out student loans, and the process is just terrible,” Chavez said.

Upon comparing the online lists for undergraduate and graduate scholarships, the list of scholarships available at UNM is much smaller for graduate students than for undergraduates.

Jodie Whitehorse Willie, a graduating psychology student, said that she looks forward to saying, “I finally did it,” during her commencement ceremony. Despite that excitement, she still feels nervous about life after college.

“It’s kind of just scary to go out into the world and be a functioning human being that is contributing to society in some sort of way,” Willie said.

After graduation, Willie said she will continue working within her field in retirement work and will add a second job as a waitress to save money. Besides going out into the world, she worries that at some point her career will feel more like a chore than something she enjoys. 

“I don't want to feel like, 'oh, it's an obligation, it's a drag.' So I feel like balancing work and balancing your personal health is important to me,” Willie said.

Sophia Mejia, another upcoming psychology graduate, said she feels she won’t have the same solid support system that she has now upon graduating and moving on from college. She said that, as a student, if she were to make a mistake she had professors, staff and fellow students to rely on, but now she needs to confront life more independently.

In spite of that, Mejia looks forward to the future and she plans to move to Europe with her partner and start a new chapter there.

On Friday, Dec. 16th, graduating students from UNM will have the option to celebrate the finalization of their undergraduate degree at the commencement ceremony taking place at The Pit. For the 2022 fall semester, over 900 students will be graduating according to Nancy Middlebrook, the University secretary.

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Annya Loya is the news editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @annyaloya

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