As many students approach graduation at the end of the semester, each will face that same annoying question from friends, family and neighbors, ‘So what are you going to do now?’ For some there’s no question about it, and for others it’s all up in the air.

All of a sudden graduates enter the real world and are expected to join the workforce and stay there for the next 35 years, according to the Social Security Administration. It’s clear that these post-graduation decisions will impact the rest of their lives.

As for the rest of us, who are not yet graduating, we still have time. Not only to decide our career path, but to prepare. On BYU-Idaho’s campus there are ample opportunities for students to get real world work experience while pursuing their degree.

We at Scroll believe students should take advantage of real-world opportunities on campus that prepare them for the professional world.

Almost every department provides some kind of job through the school that specifically deals with job skills in that area. This helps students put into practice what they are learning or gain other skills vital to the workplace, all while getting paid to do it.

It is understandable that students would hesitate to add one more thing to their schedules when they already have so much going on. Students consumed in their classes need to evaluate why they study and try so hard in college, is it for the grade itself? Many would respond that they work hard to have a better future. But surely there is more to it.

According to The Atlantic, when employers recently named the most important elements in hiring a recent graduate, college reputation, GPA and courses finished at the bottom of the list.

Hearing that your good grades aren’t as important to employers as much as they may be to you can be disheartening. The article continues to say that what is most important is work experience.

Fortunately for BYU-I students, campus has available jobs that provide work experience to help students get ahead before entering the workforce.

While there are many jobs on campus, the one I am most familiar with is working for Scroll. When I began as a reporter all I knew was I loved to write, I knew nothing of the certain style of writing that was required or the specifics of the editing process.

The longer I stayed with Scroll, the more I learned about the inner workings of a real newsroom. I learned what it is like to be a reporter then editor and gain experience to prepare me for the professional world.

Any students who want to go into journalism or want to improve their writing skills, something needed in every profession, can work on staff for Scroll. Students can work closely with professionals that help expand future opportunities through real world experience.

For example anyone interested in clothing construction or design can get a job in the dance department or costume shop making the clothing for real productions. Students put into practice all the techniques they’ve learned about in class and perfect their skills has they work closely with deadlines.

Psychology teacher’s assistants gain experience by working with the professors and conducting reals studies. Students are able to participate in the research and writing of the scholarly articles are later written about these studies.

Students interested in broadcasting can work for the school radio station. Where students learn how to run a real radio station. The students are responsible for the airing of news and running the station. Professionals work closely with students to teach and provide insights to help them in their future career.

Even more than work experience, campus jobs provide students with some of the best mentors, who can help students network to help find their future employer. Some of the best contacts thanks to recent graduates and retired professionals now instructing the students. People who know people.

Matt Youngquist, president of Career Horizons told NPR. “At least 70 percent, if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published”.

The only way to find these unadvertised jobs is to talk to people with experience, and the best way to earn their confidence is to prove past work experience.

Now is not the time to worry these soon to be graduates with pestering questions and causing them to wonder if they did enough. Rather it is time for the not-yet graduates to reevaluate their course of studies and to ask themselves if they took advantage of every opportunity to prepare for the professional world in their field.

So for students continuing in their college career we ask, so what are you going to do now?