Alumni News

‘The perseverance paid off’: UH grads talk life after college

Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Last year, 3,713 students graduated  from the University of Houston with their bachelors degree. While recent graduates say that receiving their degree was one of the proudest moments of their lives, where they go from there isn’t as certain. 

A survey of 2,000 adults, conducted by OnePoll for Colorado State University Global, revealed that 17% of those who attended college said they had no plans after graduation, according to an 2022 article by the New York Post

While that might be the case for many students, Sarah Sasson, who graduated with her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, isn’t one of them. After walking the stage, Sasson immediately began building the foundation to support her post-grad goal of becoming a physical therapist. 

“I think college is worth it if you know what you want from it and what you want to do,” Sasson said. “My bachelor’s degree was crucial for me to have as a base for furthering my education. Other people have different experiences, but personally, it was worth it for me.”

While she is preparing for PT school, Sasson is volunteering at a Memorial Hermann clinic and is playing the “waiting game,” as she waits to hear back from schools she applied to. 

Although some recent graduates like Sasson plan to continue their education to secure a long-term job related to their degree, a recent survey by Resume Builder found that 28% of recent college graduates were working at jobs that only required a high school diploma. The survey, which gathered response from 1,000 fall 2021 and spring 2022 graduates, also found that 6% of them had jobs that had no educational requirements at all. 

For UH graduates like Shahmeer Baweja the road to securing a job in engineering was challenging due to his hearing loss and speech impediment, despite having a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. With the help of his Ph.D. adviser, Shailendra Joshi, an associate engineering professor, Baweja successfully secured a job as a postdoctoral appointee for Argonne National Laboratory and now works in its applied materials division.

“Despite initial nervousness after graduating without a confirmed job, the perseverance paid off,” Baweja said. “The road to success was not without its hurdles, but the support of my adviser played a crucial role in overcoming those challenges.”

While Baweja is grateful to have had the guidance and support of his professor, Sasson said she wished she had connected with her professors sooner despite how intimidating it seemed. 

“I was lucky enough to connect with a few of my professors during my senior year, but I wish I had done it earlier,” Sasson said. “It can feel very intimidating but once you realize that a lot of professors actually want you to ask them questions and be involved in their research, it gets easier.”

In addition to supportive professors, UH provides its alumni, along with currently enrolled students various career and professional development opportunities through the University Career Services

“At Alumni Career Services within UCS, recent graduates have the valuable opportunity to utilize our resources, including access to job postings on Cougar Path, for six months,” UCS Executive Director Monica Thompson said. “At UCS, we take pride in fostering professional growth and ensuring successful outcomes for our alumni.”

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