Amy Cavanaugh & Ashley Ziomek
(Buffalo, N.Y.) — Saturday May 19 marks the 146th commencement ceremony at SUNY Buffalo State, honoring the 2018 graduating class.
For many graduating seniors, the opportunity to cross the stage and collect their diploma is the culmination of four (or more) years of hard work.
“Putting on the gown was like…I actually did this,” said Cheyanne Smith, a graduating senior.
“I actually did this and that felt really good. That gave me a little bit more confidence and (I’m) a bit more excited. I’ve been around the same people for four years and it’s tough, but now it is time for the real world,” she said.
For many, being thrust into the real world to find a job can be a scary experience.
“Talk to professors, try to get out there as much as you can,” said Ben Szczygiel, a graduating senior.
Job searches can be discouraging, but consistency is key, according to Stephanie Zuckerman-Aviles, director of the Career Development Center at Buffalo State.
“We actually have a phenomenal program and we have employers and alumni who contact us looking for people,” she said.
The program, known as ORCA, allows Buffalo State to post job information and connect students with recruiters in an online forum. ORCA is available to students and alumni, which can be helpful to those graduating who have yet to find employment.
“I think you have to stay hopeful, you have to believe in yourself and when you lose that, you have to find someone that can pump you up,” said Zuckerman-Aviles.
“It’s like bam, you’re graduating,” said senior Brandon Smith. “It’s really weird, but it’s really rewarding. I’m really happy.”