THE END IS NEAR: Part 1: Graduation

The end is nearing for some Amarillo College students: graduation. The walk across the stage May 16 will be the final step in what some say is a long and sometimes stressful journey.GRAD

Some students are excited to finally be receiving their degree, but others are nervous about their future.

“I’m mainly stressed about getting a job,” said Samuel Brandt, an applied science major.

Employment is a common worry for many graduates. But students who have graduated from AC said their degree has made it easier to find a job.

“With my associate degree, some doors have opened up,” said graduate Chris Lillico. “It’s a sense of accomplishment that I can provide a better future for my family. I feel like it’s opened up dozens in Amarillo for me to choose from.”

An associate degree also can mean more money. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Workers with an associate’s degree earn around $6,500 more per year than those with only a high school diploma.”

Studies show more students are taking advantage of those perks and attending community colleges like AC.

According to a report by the American Association of Community Colleges, 5.5 million students attended a two-year school in 2000.

By 2010, that number was more than 8 million.

Although post-college employment is important to some, others said they just can’t wait for school to be over. Patricia Ramirez, a social work major, said she can’t wait to not have any homework and to be able to relax for a little bit. Still, she’s nervous about graduating.

She, Brandt and the hundreds of others graduating have just three weeks to get through the nervousness, homework and finals. AC commencement will be at 7 p.m. May 16 in Cal Farley Coliseum in the Amarillo Civic Center.

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