Cause for Optimism

In just a few days, 765 students will graduate from Middle Georgia State University, with a master’s, bachelor’s, associate’s or certificate. For spring commencement, that is the highest number of prospective graduates in the University’s history.

I am, of course, exceedingly proud of our graduation candidates. But for the first time in two years, I am optimistic about both their short-term and long-term career prospects.

Many students were in the early stages of their degree programs when the COVID pandemic abruptly changed our world. In the midst of trying to safeguard their health and deal with other challenges, these students faced an uncertain economy and perhaps more questions than answers as they pondered their future careers.

Today, the experts tell us that the pandemic recession was relatively short-lived, and while that doesn’t mean the overall economy is without its cracks and unevenness, the Class of 2022 is looking at a strong job market. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, employers are revving up job recruiting for new college graduates. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that it expects an increase of 30 percent in hiring. Indeed, our own Center for Career & Leadership Development hosted 30+ job fairs this academic year across our five campuses. All told, these events featured many dozens of employers of all sizes and kinds and gave our upcoming graduates and other students and alumni glimpses of the road that lies ahead. This collective response to changing markets and new opportunities is a powerful and tangible current illustration of our core value of Stewardship, which we have sought to model and instill in our graduates.

The workplace graduates are entering offers a wider range of opportunities for work-life balance due to workplace flexibility that is here to stay. The past two years have taught us that life is about much more than our professions, no matter how satisfying they may be. As our own Dr. Simone Phipps recently highlighted “People want to work, but they also want to be valued and fulfilled.” My wish for the entire MGA community, but especially for our upcoming graduates, is that we continue to prioritize taking care of ourselves and our loved ones and to seek creative ways to strike a healthy work-life balance while still pursuing meaningful careers.

It’s been a remarkable academic year. I look forward to sending our spring graduates off into the world and, along with the rest of the MGA community, preparing for an exciting fall full of new possibilities. 

Thank you, all, for the success that this week so joyfully and optimistically shares between graduates, faculty and staff at MGA.

Go Knights, and Be Well!