Graduation is a light at the end of the college tunnel. Or at least, that’s what everyone says.
For me, graduation is a pending doom. An April 28, 2017 deadline when one secured job, one apartment or house and one life set for success are due not to a professor, but to myself.
Failure has never been an option in my life, but for the first time it seems as though the train tracks at the end of the college tunnel stop abruptly, and my train will careen into an eternal abyss once I walk across the stage and accept my diploma.
I have no doubt I will graduate — with a solid 3.87 GPA and detail-oriented study methods backing me, I will most certainly grab the approximately $60,000 piece of paper, complete with dried ink and a shiny gold sticker, and put it in a box in my future attic.
But there’s one problem: I’m graduating with a Bachelor of Science in journalism.
This career field neglects to carry a history of well-paid jobs, and a recent article from Poynter highlighted the states where journalists are paid less than the median salary, equivalent to the median, or more than the median.
According to the Poynter article, the Northwestern and Midwestern regions pay journalists less than the median salary per state. Because I grew up in Alaska, I wish to reside in mountain country — namely Colorado, Oregon or Washington — but my fiancée wishes to live in Missouri. Either way, I’m choosing to live in the Northwest or the Midwest, the under-paying regions.
In 2015, Newsweek released an article about millennials facing unemployment. It said 13.8 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are jobless. The article also quoted Anthony Carnevale, a director and research professor at Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, who said millennials make up 40 percent of the Unites States’ unemployed citizens.
The Washington Post said four of every five college students graduate without a job, but also pointed out that students often don’t look into small businesses, which hold a multitude of entry-level jobs.
Even with Oklahoma Christian University’s career services office and the Eagles At Work program, many seniors begin looking for jobs a month or two before they face the impact of the adult world. I’m not hoping to join this group, but it’s hard to keep up with researching companies, writing cover letters, adjusting the resume and attending interviews while completing A-worthy homework, studying for tests and all the personal aspects accompanying my senior year.
I knew graduating from college wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t think it would be the lack of time that would hurt me the most; and I’m not even in a social club. Club members are stretched thin during the school year but add Spring Sing into the mix, there’s no job prepping for seniors in the month leading up to show week.
“You’ll be fine,” professors tell me, or “You’ll get through this, don’t worry.” So I try hard to squeeze job-finding into my schedule, and become slightly more stressed, which causes my dad — out of loving concern — to tell me, “You need to lighten up.”
It’s only October, but I feel the need to find and acquire a job now. So do I find the job first and then a place to live, or the other way around? Do I take a great job in a state I dislike, or choose an environment I’ll enjoy but a job I describe by shrugging my shoulders?
I am ready to graduate. I’m ready to stop spending money without regretting it and I’m ready for more freedom than Oklahoma Christian allows.
Graduation itself, and what comes after, is nothing more than doomsday for all like me who are stuck between “I’m smart and can prove it” and “I have no idea what I want to do with my life.”