CONWAY, AR -- Pomp and circumstance.
What a tune -- after long days and nights pushing for this moment.
"My parents are a bit more relieved than I am but I'm really glad it's over," John Andreson said.
Getting a diploma means a lot, but what makes it even more special is walking into a job.
"They now have a piece of paper that says that can accomplish something," said Michael Casey, dean of the College of Business.
Casey said this fall class can march with pride. The unemployment rate is at 7.7 percent, the lowest in nearly four years. But the economy is still improving, which means some graduates outside of health care, education, and the technical industry could still find it difficult to get a job in their majors.
"They need to look at their fields and look at the skill sets they earned in that degree and market themselves to the opportunities that open up," Casey said.
But Casey warns the outlook could become bleak again if President Barack Obama and House Republicans don't agree on a budget to avoid a fiscal cliff.
"I've talked to a number of companies, and they say they're in a holding pattern right now and I hate to hear that," Casey said.
Some of the graduates chose to get a Master's degree to escape the job search. They hope by the time they graduate again, the job picture is much rosier.
"I know a Bachelor's will get you some jobs, but it won't get you the ones you want and the pay scale you want," Andreson said.
The graduates may not be students any longer, but they still have access to the University's Student Placement Center. They have staff on hand to help with resumes and interviewing skills.