Graduation brings new challenges

By Kyle Harding, Opinion Editor


While graduating college is a cause for celebration, it is tough to celebrate when the future is so uncertain.

As I near the end, I feel accomplished. I should also feel relieved. However, the sense of relief has been replaced with full-blown anxiety.

Every day I worry about having a job after I leave. I have sent in more job applications in the last few months than I care to count. Every week, I update my portfolio of writing samples and search for jobs. Some job, any job, I am not picky. I just want it to relate to my journalism degree so that I feel like the last four years have not been a complete waste of time and money.

This is the reality of graduating from college in post-2008 America. I have known many long-term unemployed people over the past few years. I also know some “discouraged workers” and underemployed folks who are not counted amongst the ranks of the unemployed. I do not want to be one of those people. I do not want to be unsure every month about whether or not I will be able to pay my rent or utilities or buy groceries. I would like to have some leftover money to put away for the future.

To put things in perspective, I am not the 22-year-old that comes to mind when you think of someone graduating college. I recently turned 28 years old. I know that is not ancient, but I have a sense that I should already be on track with my life.

I feel like my life is beginning late. I want to have the foundations of a career already, instead I am just starting. The whole point of going to college was to better my station in life. At this time, I am unsure of whether or not I am better off than I would have been had I forgone higher education.

On a less pessimistic note, not everything is doom and gloom. Indeed, when I do get a job in journalism, it will be because of experience gained at The Easterner. Without it, I would have no published writing samples to show to prospective employers, no practical knowledge of journalistic writing. Having a college newspaper to work at has given me two years of relevant experience, which has been more important than any class I could have taken. I have also largely escaped the student loan debt scourge.

Maybe it won’t be so bad afterall. Maybe I need to be more patient. Maybe I need to take a more active approach to my job search. Maybe I need to be grateful that, in the interim, I at least have some money saved up and a place to stay.

College may be ending, but life is just beginning. And I have a feeling that it will be a bigger challenge than any final I have taken.

Follow me on Twitter @schmylesmarding