IOWA CITY, Iowa – Carver Hawkeye Arena was filled with tears of happiness as University of Iowa students eagerly accepted their diplomas.
The University of Iowa held its December undergraduate ceremony this morning at Carver Hawkeye Arena. One by one, students filed up to the front of the arena to get their degree.
"I can't believe I did it! It's not really real yet. I'm verging on tears. It's really weird," UI Graduate Ashlynn Gerth said.
Gerth and her entire family from Minnesota gathered for the ceremony. The grad's little brother and sister even presented her with hugs and flowers.
"I was so proud of her," said Ashlynn's Little Sister Ellie Steuben.
Now, all eyes are on the future. Ashlynn gets to hold out on apply for jobs for right now. She's going to grad school in Texas to get a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.
Michael Hoerner also wrapped up his UI education Saturday morning. The Dubuque native says he's more than ready to find a job in the marketing field.
"The job market is not quite where I want it to be at but just keep trying, it doesn't hurt having a degree from Iowa," Hoerner said.
Nationwide, about 3.7 million jobs are up for grabs, according to new information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Hoerner's parents are confident he'll figure out his path. In the meantime, it'll be a while before it sinks in that their fourth and final son has graduated from college.
"I think it will hit us when we don't have any more payments and stuff like that happens. And we've got Mikey living back home with us for a while until he figures out what he's going to do," Hoerner's Father Mark Hoerner said.
The students all have a lot on their minds, but for most, wearing a cap and gown and hearing their names over the loud speaker during graduation is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"It was always kind of a dream of mine to graduate from this college," Hoerner said.
Many said they'd worry about the future later and focus on their accomplishments today.
The University of Iowa held a few different commencement ceremonies on Friday and Saturday. In all, about 1,500 degrees will go to students who are graduating at the end of this fall semester.