Florida’s employment figures have recently started to increase, bringing new job opportunities for college students. Drema Howard, the director of USF’s Career Center, believes this is an excellent time for students to find work since employers are looking to fill a wide variety of positions.
“In the last two semesters, the economy has shifted for college students because we are seeing employers come back to the campus,” Howard said. “They’re coming back not just with two or three jobs, they’re coming back with 40 positions and a variety of positions.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida’s unemployment rate in December of 2011 was 9.9 percent, down from 12 percent in December of 2010. In 2011, 28 states experienced significant increases in employment. Behind California and Texas, Florida had the third-largest increase in employment (113,900) from 2010 to 2011.
Within the last six months, USF has seen their number of internships increase 53 percent, part-time jobs increase 33 percent and full-time jobs requiring a college degree increase 58 percent, according to Howard.
“I am graduating in the fall, so hearing that opportunities for jobs after graduation are increasing makes me feel much better,” said Justin Wilde, a senior majoring in civil engineering. “Part of what I like about my major, though, is that even in the poor economic situation I knew I wouldn’t really be at a loss of a job because a society needs roads and bridges to be able to communicate ideas and thrive.”
The Florida Department of Economic Activity projects job outlooks for Hillsborough County in 2019. Business and financial operations sits at the top, with 54,796 people employed, but engineering follows closely.
Caitlin Laramee, a sophomore majoring in accounting and finance, said part of the reason she chose to focus in business was “because I knew that there will always be a need for accountants and financers, even with a poor economic situation. Without us, a business will have a hard time succeeding.”
The increases in employment will continue to noticeably affect USF students and their choices in majors.
“We’ll see it on a college campus before they’ll see it in the community,” Howard said. “Students at USF only continue to pursue degrees they know will look up in the future.”
Low lighting, cushioned armchairs and blue palm-sized stress balls were all Heidi Ison and Lisa Costas needed as they hosted their Relaxation and Stress Reduction Techniques workshop, the first in a series.
The hour-long session was held in the Counseling Center, located in the Student Services building (SVC), room 2124.
Ison, a licensed clinical social worker, and Costas, a licensed psychologist, led five students through informational slides about the causes and effects of stress and taught them a deep diaphragmatic breathing exercise to help reduce future stress. The workshop ended with seven minutes of meditation, complete with lights out, deep breathing and repeated mantras such as “soft” to calm the students.
The purpose of the workshop is to “reverse your reaction to stress,” said Ison. “It is for personal growth and wellness.”
“We are giving you tools, and every week adds a new tool. Every week you add to the repertoire,” said Costas.
Stress is one of the major factors affecting the health, well being and academic performance of college students. The Spring 2010 National College Health Assessment reports that 41.1 percent of college students experience more than average stress.
“When I talk to students, they state effective time management as their biggest issue, which leads to stress and the need for these relaxation techniques,” said Christine Haywood, a marketing specialist at Wellness USF.
According to the American Psychological Association’s 2010 “Stress in America” report, failure to manage stress can lead to sickness, sleeping troubles, substance abuse, mood swings, lack of motivation and social withdrawal.
Ison projected her ideas for upcoming classes. “We will be moving into sort of, like I said, more behavioral suggestions for changes you can make in your life.”
The workshops are held every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. in SVC 2124. In the future, they will include aromatherapy, music and various visualizations. By May, Ison and Costas hope to end the final class with a full 20 minutes of guided relaxation.
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