GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Southern Miss seniors are just weeks away from getting their diplomas. This week, students in the Senior Practicum class are sharing their future plans with each other, by outlining their job prospects and goals after graduation.
"I'm pretty excited. I'm ready to just get out there and find what I'm really going to do with my life," said USM Senior Nikki Wrigley.
Nikki is majoring in Marine Biology, with a minor in Spanish. To start, she wants to move to Miami and help save the environment by working as a paid intern or a volunteer.
"I know the economy is bad everywhere, but compare Miami to here, Miami's such a tourist place so there's always jobs open," said Wrigley.
There's another reason why Nikki and several of her classmates are so optimistic about landing a job in these tough economic times. They're entering fields that are tied to protecting the earth, because they believe that's where they'll find job openings.
"I think that's the new wave of jobs is going to be Biology and Conservation and stuff like that," said Wrigley.
"My field specifically, that of Environmental Science, is growing mainly in the consulting areas," said USM Senior Hastings McIver. "I feel there's a lot of good work being done in my field right now, and I'm poised in a good position to jump right into the market."
If work doesn't come easy, another option is graduate school.
"It doesn't bother me that I have to take more classes, because it all pays back in the long run," said USM Senior Stephen Coblentz.
"If it's best to go back to school because the economy's low, then I'll go back to school and just find a way to pay for it," said Nikki.
They've worked hard to get to this point and it seems they're not letting the dismal economy dash their dreams.
Graduation for the USM-Gulf Coast campus is set for May 9th. About 285 students are candidates for graduation.