I am wondering if I can take a few minutes of your time to gain some insight into life after undergraduate school. I am deciding whether or not to go straight into graduate school or to take a year or two off to work.
The decision to immediately pursue graduate studies or first go to a firm is the million dollar question. In my opinion, it is a very personal one that you will need to decide on a variety of factors - cost, do you know what you want in a graduate program, location, burnout from school, job market, etc.
When I was your age, I intended to work but I also applied to graduate programs to keep my options open. As it turned out I did have a position in a firm the summer after graduation but it was not too glorious so I headed off to my MArch. I did attend a different school for my graduate studies.
In retrospect, I do wish I had taken a few years off to gain the perspective of working for my studies but if I had done so I may not be where I am today.
Now, the market is still not the greatest and who knows where it will be come next May. My suggestion is to go through the process of applying and make your final decision next April with a variety of options. Many programs allow you to defer your admission if you are admitted allowing you to work for a year. Granted, applying does cost money -- application fees, cost of portfolio, etc., but in this way you have options to choose from in April. If you have a job lined up, you either defer or postpone studies. If you do not, you must make a decision.
Regardless of the decision, you should take the GRE, work on your portfolio, research graduate programs and start a credentials file with the Career Center for your letters of recommendation so you can apply in a few years alot easier.
Talk to professors, talk with current graduate students to gain their insight.