RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - With college behind them now, the reality of today's tough economy is sinking in for thousands of new grads.
They understand that now is not the best time to be looking for a job.
This last spring, 3800 students graduated from VCU.
Then, the statistics indicated the job outlook had promise.
"I'm very excited," said graduate Jennah Moore. "It's really sinking in now."
But as we enter into a new year in a confirmed recession, there's less for new grads to cheer about.
The uncertainty about the future is weighing on their minds.
"We talked a lot about it in class," said graduate Joseph Ryan. "The idea that this could be one of the worst times to be entering in the job market."
"Sometimes when I really think about it, it kind of scares me," said Moore.
Moore is just one of the 2400 VCU students who graduated.
Her dream is to be a zookeeper.
It's a tough field to break into and the recession isn't helping.
"It's hard to get into, so I'll have to do something else in the meantime," she said.
A compromise she and others may have to make.
With companies going under at an alarming rate.
The economic crisis forcing more and more layoffs and with the unemployment rate at its highest in decades the immediate job outlook is grim.
We talked to half a dozen graduates.
None of them have a job lined up right away.
"It's something that I think about, you know," said Ryan. "I hope I get a job."
"I started applying. I've been going on interviews. I'm trying to make the transition as quick as possible," said healthcare graduate Cody Nicholas.
But these grads hang onto to optimism as they push forward, hopeful that demand in their chosen path will override the recession.
"I know in my field, there's definitely a need for healthcare, that's my field so I'm ready, I'm ready for it," said Nicholas.
And of course the industries that are proving to be recession proof are in fields like healthcare and education as so many are looking at going back to school.