Sunday, August 24 2014 12:56 AM EDT2014-08-24 04:56:42 GMT
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KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- As thousands of students received their diplomas Sunday during fall commencement at Thompson-Boling Arena, many face an uncertain future in the weak economy.
Several graduates told 6 News they are experiencing a range of emotions.
"Extreme excitement, unexplainable excitement," said Raphael Brown.
"It's five-and-a-half years coming. It's one of the greatest days of my life," said Brandon Wright.
Wright's joy was contagious at the commencement. Still, he was quick to point out he and several of his fellow graduates are concerned about their future because of the economy.
"I talked to someone who graduated back in May with the same major I did and they haven't found a job yet, so I am nervous," he said.
Many graduates told 6 News they did not plan to have a job lined up.
Several said they are choosing to pursue a higher degree as they wait for the economy to improve.
"You might as well stay in school while it's hard to get a job. If you get a job, and you're getting paid less than what you're earning value is, then you might as well stay in school," said Benjamin Russell.
"My plans are to go to graduate school starting in August, but right now I'm going to intern and chill," says Ulandria Hudson.
Others graduates appeared unfazed by the economy, but only because of the degree they chose.
"Science is relatively wide open right now. There's not many people going into laboratory research so I'm not that worried. I'm just ready to get out there," said Brown.