USM Gulf Park graduates excited for what lies ahead

USM Gulf Park graduates excited for what lies ahead
USM Gulf Park hosted its commencement ceremony Saturday. (Source: Photo WLOX)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There was plenty of pomp and circumstance at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Saturday morning as hundreds of University of Southern Mississippi students went from students to alumni. Saturday’s ceremonies were for the Gulf Park campus students.

It was a moment they’ve been waiting years for.

“It was a lot of hard work, determination, sacrifice, but it was all worth it in the end,” said graduate Nathan Blaine Drieling.

The Coast Coliseum was full of excitement as hundreds celebrated the end of their college journey, one that the graduates said went by in a flash.

“I am extremely excited. I feel like I still have assignments to do and deadlines to meet. I’ve been dreaming about having to meet deadlines I’m pretty sure," said graduate Christina Highsmith.

The walk across the stage was a step into a new chapter in life. Some are choosing to return to school.

“It took me five years, but it’s finally over. But I’m ready to come back in a couple of years and get my master’s," said Brittany Thomas.

For others, they’re walking in to what is being called the best job market in years.

Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decade,s and job prospects are up. That’s good news to those who are still putting in applications.

“I’m feeling very confident. Over confident. I’m going to get a good job and work very hard and do very well at what I do," said Beverly Stapleton.

“I think the hard part would actually be just narrowing it down to what exactly I want to do, because we have so many options,” said Alyssa Crowell.

With their diplomas now in hand, these graduates said they’re ready for whatever comes next.

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