GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Over 100,000 college students are getting ready to graduate from across North Carolina. East Carolina University students are among those getting ready to walk across the stage on Friday while looking ahead to their next chapter.

It’s good news as the job market for graduates in 2023 is looking promising. While students are focusing on finally being done with their education, they’re excited and anxious preparing to go into the workforce.

“The job market is promising. According to NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers), the projections are up about 3.9% for the class of 2023, which is actually a good thing,” said ECU Associate Director of Career Development, Crystal Howard.

For some seniors, they’re focused on finishing finals on Tuesday.

“So after that, I’m just going to really live in the moment, hang out with my friends and just do all the crazy senior things right before graduation,” said Jenny Huynh, ECU Biology major.

For one graduate who’s entering the dental medicine workforce, graduation has been years in the making.

“I can’t describe what this feeling feels like,” said ECU Doctor of Dental Medicine, Octavia Miller. “It’s almost surreal, mostly. You’ve been a student your whole life and now you finally get to do what you’ve been working for, you know, your whole life’s mission.”

“So I’m super excited to help people, you know, and use everything that I’ve learned over the past 13 years,” said Miller.

Other students are looking forward to being done with education and having time off from studying and doing assignments.

“I’m in that mix of being sad and also very happy that I’m getting to do what I wanted to do was just graduate. It’s been a long time and I’m tired,” said Omar Payton, ECU Economy and Business Administration major.

Howard said several students are in the process of lining jobs up, which is the case for Aaron Abraham who’s an ECU Computer Science and Business Administration major.

“Honestly, I have a bunch of jobs lined up for me, like I have to really weigh the pros and cons and just pick one that I really enjoy the most,” said Abraham.

Howard said for those without a plan yet, graduation can be an anxious time but to continue to enjoy the moment.

“I’m waiting to hear back from a couple of markets out there but yeah, hopefully, fingers crossed something works soon in the future, in the near future,” said Manoah Tsegai, ECU Fashion Merchandising and Business Administration major.

As graduation for ECU students approaches, Howard offered advice to soon-to-be graduates.

“[There’s] lots of excitement, but also there’s work ahead of you to become that professional that you are supposed to be. So, you know, ECU has given you the tools to do that, now go use them,” said Howard.

Howard added the Career Services Center is always there to help. She said this week is a wonderful time at ECU as over 4,000 students are entering the next level and taking a huge, exciting step.