When I graduated from college with my B.A. in Communications, I thought I was on top of the world. I thought “Finally! All my hard work, dedication, and late nights have finally paid off!” I had made the Dean’s List with my 3.5 GPA. I had an internship ready and waiting the week after graduation, doing what I finally decided I wanted to do with my life: writing. And yet, here I sit, frustrated beyond belief. I graduated from college ten months ago, and I still can’t find a job. I spent five years in school, got myself in debt up to my eyeballs with student loans, and what am I doing? Working a part-time job and completing various editorial/blogging/writing internships.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my part-time job. I’ve been there for almost two years, but it’s one of those jobs where there is absolutely no chance in hell for advancement or extra hours unless someone retires or calls in sick. I knew both of those things when I accepted the job, and I was okay with that at the time. It helps pay the bills and keep a roof over my head and food in my stomach.
I love the internships I’ve been doing. I know that before I can get an actual paid, writing job, I need to pay my dues by doing internships first and getting all the necessary, hands on experience that I can get. Learning to meet (and stay) on deadlines, mastering SEO basics, getting my name out there, etc. And that’s okay. I get to build and perfect my skills before applying for in house internships or actual writing jobs. I like to call them big girl jobs.
When I graduated from college ten months ago, I thought opportunities were going to come knocking at every turn. I had that four year degree in hand that so many employers want. I was involved in activities throughout my undergrad career before I transferred to an online degree program for my last two years. Is it because I realized my degree and my dream too late in my college career? Have I failed networking? How do you even go about networking, especially when you live in an area where there are barely any individuals who do what you want to do? And what the hell is a portfolio anyway? So. damn. frustrating!
According to Jeffrey J. Selingo, in an article for the Harvard Business Review, two-thirds of college graduates are struggling to launch their careers. When twenty somethings graduate from college, we become three groups:
Sprinters are those annoying individuals who jump right into their careers after graduation. Wanderers take their time in getting their careers started, usually into their mid-twenties. Stragglers press PAUSE and spend most of their twenties trying to get their start. We tend to think of these last two groups as those individuals who can’t seem to get it together.
But I’m starting to realize that most twenty somethings don’t have it all together, myself included, after graduating from college. Sure, we know what we want to do with our lives (or at least we should anyway) but it’s getting there that’s the challenge. There are a few that do have their shit together and are making things happen right out of college, damn them, but they are few and far between.
As for me? Well, the best thing that I can do is bust my ass and totally rock these internships while gaining more experience in my current part-time position. I’ve also started to reach out to individuals around me who are in the same or similar career field to pick their brains and ask for advice. Not everyone’s process of getting where they want to be is the same. Sometimes you have to do what’s best and what works for you. I don’t like having an ‘adult’ job but maybe this is my chance to figure it out!
Check out some of these other articles for not having a job after graduation: