LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Nearly a thousand students donned their caps and gowns Sunday, receiving their diplomas during Florida Gulf Coast University's 41st commencement ceremony.
Family and friends showed their excitement, waving and snapping photos as their graduates got their diplomas at Alico Arena.
Spirits were high among the grads too, who say they're mostly optimistic for the future. "I'm super excited. I've applied to med school, so I'm waiting to hear back from them. So it might be another 4 years coming in my future," said biology graduate Rachel Whitaker.
She thinks her chances of getting into medical school are pretty good, but says there are plenty of other opportunities with a biology degree. "If not, there's a lot of PHD options for research and things like that. Or you can always go on to teach biology."
A recent article by cheatsheet.com says medical jobs like physical therapists and nurse practitioners are projected to have a lot of openings in 2017, and personal finance advisers may also be in demand.
Communications grad Tyler Pettis is already interning at Northwestern Mutual, and is working towards a career in finance. "It's kind of different from what I was getting my degree in, but it kind of works out in the end because I have to get in front of people and I have to talk, and I have to be able to move people to action."
Drew Liddick says he's still waiting to see where his masters in environmental studies takes him. "It's a tight niche to fit right now, but I think with the years coming up, I think those prospects will improve."
Pettis says the school helped him find the internship that he expects will lead to a career. "FGCU does a very good job of setting up prospective graduates for jobs in the future."
FGCU graduating more than 970 students during two different ceremonies Sunday.