They passed the classes, listened to the speeches, and got the degree. On graduation day at Michigan State, many of the University's 2,566 graduates are asking: now what?
For some the answer is more education. Spanish major Teresa Reyna is heading to Chicago and said, "I would like to look for a job and go to grad school for a masters degree."
For others ready to start working now, the only answer is escaping a state with at last count an unemployment rate of about 6.9 percent. This in a nation with an unemployment rate of about 4.4 percent.
Many leaving, like Nicholas Lopez, have jobs already lined up.
"I'll move to Texas and teach high school history in bilingual classrooms."
Lopez says he is glad he has family in Texas, considering the job market for teachers in Michigan. Still, many are hoping their degrees will help them compete here in Michigan, so they can stay in a state they love.
Political Science graduate Bryce Branson isn't worried.
"I plan on staying around East Lansing and looking for a job around here."
Neither is Education major Joan McAlister. She is still waiting for a full-time job, but says her big ten experience will take care of her.
"I know I can find a sub job. I have one. But, I'm optimistic. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't optimistic."
Economic analysts say that optimism is justified. They say education will help get workers ready for growing health, service, and education sectors in Michigan as the state works to overcome the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs.