N.C. State grads optimistic as salaries rebound from Great Recession

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina State University students who graduated Saturday are happy to hear a new report about their financial prospects.

An Economic Policy Institute study says starting pay for the Class of 2017 is back up to where it was in 2007, before the Great Recession. The report puts the average hourly pay for young college graduates just over $19.

“I definitely think that a bachelor’s degree is going to help me be financially sound, and I hope that that number keeps going up,” political science graduate Caroline Brey said.

NCSU awarded nearly 6,000 degrees on Saturday. Talen Geib said he is excited to be the first in his family to graduate with a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Meghan McLain said Saturday was the best day of her life. However, she is among many who are anxious about starting the next step.

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“We go from college to being in the real world with no income, nothing. You just kind of, you want to have a job immediately so you don’t have to offset getting debt,” McLain said.

Some of the newly minted alumni plan on staying at N.C. State a little while longer, or moving to other schools to continue their education.

Taylor Dill, a double major in accounting and supply chain management, lined up a job with Cherry Bekaert but she will not start until after she completes graduate school at her now alma mater.

“It’s great to be in the job market when it is on the rise, because I think there are a lot more opportunities for you in the job market, especially going to N.C. State,” Dill said.

“I feel like recruiters heavily recruit here, and then you get a better salary because I guess you’re better suited for the job.”

Evan Dippel is preparing to move to Denver after turning his experience from a Summer 2016 internship into a full-time job with a competing company.

“I would say I was fortunate and I feel like (N.C.) State kind of prepared me well enough where I was able to secure a job pretty soundly,” Dippel said.

Others said they are still trying to determine what they want to do as a career.

“I don’t want a job in anything unless I know exactly what I’m doing,” business management graduate Emma Klein said.

“N.C. State has provided a lot of resources for research and obtaining a job, so when it comes down to what I decide I want to do, it’ll definitely be easier, but I haven’t quite decided yet,” Klein said.

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane gave the commencement speech Saturday. She kicked off her speech by turning her back to the crowd in order to take a selfie photo with thousands of students in the background.

McFarlane told them about how she never considered political leadership until others suggested she try, and advised the graduates to turn to friends and family for guidance and support.

“You aren’t always able to see your path clearly, but others in your life will see things in you that you don’t see in yourself, so don’t be afraid to explore and believe in those things. Because sometimes you need the belief of others to spark that belief in yourself,” the mayor said.

McFarlane told the students about the importance of self-confidence. She encouraged them to be aware of their potential, and no matter what they do, enjoy the journey.

The morning ceremony included a special recognition for engineering senior Cheyanne Haas, who died Sunday in a car crash.

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