5,500 Aggies were eligible to graduate this weekend. As they reached for their diploma, and smiled for the picture, their future awaited them.
Not far from campus, some grads from an earlier ceremony were already celebrating. When the fanfare ends, the three graduates hosting the party will be getting reacquainted with their parents. They're all moving back home, because they don't have jobs yet.
"I guess technically no, actually none of us have," said Courtney Goodson, one of the partiers.
Just under half of all graduates, Aggies or not, plan to boomerang, or return to the nest. "I'll move home 'til I find something and just kind of go from there," said Travis Ponder, a senior who graduated Friday.
However, these graduates say their parents are ok with them moving back in. "Yeah, my mom is actually probably way more excited than I am about it," said Abbey Adkison
Adkison's mother says college grads have been "boomeranging" for years, even if the term is relatively new. "I did it when I graduated from college, I went back home and moved in with my mother, although she made me pay rent," said Sarah Adkison.
When these 20-somethings do return home, they'll bring debt with them. "I think its about $13,000," said Abbey. "Its around the $20,000, around that range," said Goodson. Last year, around 40% of grads owed at least $25,000 on student loans.
One only has to take a look at decorated mortar boards during graduation ceremonies to see that the class of 2008 is creative, but graduates say they're also optimistic.
"I kind of don't feel like it has hit me yet. Its weird to do something for four years and then someone's like 'OK, go,' but we're all pretty excited," said Abbey.