I was sitting at home this weekend, staring out my window, trying desperately to think of a catchy introduction for this article. I knew exactly what I was going to write about and how I felt about my subject, but I simply couldn’t put anything into words. After I did all my normal procrastination rituals, such as checking my e-mail, checking my Facebook.com page, checking my e-mail one more time and doodling on my geography study guide, I finally realized I couldn’t think of an introduction for a story about life after college because I really didn’t know what to expect post-graduation. That is what scares me the most.
As a follow-up to my story about college students being stressed, I thought I’d discuss what happens once college is over and how these changes might affect a person. One of the hardest parts of being in school for me so far has been the fact that I’ve had to leave the majority of my former life behind. All through my high school years, I thought I couldn’t wait to get out of my tiny town and do something bigger and better. Now that I am out, however, I can’t help but miss the simplicity and friendly feeling of my small, rural home from time to time.
Graduation anxiety: How many of you readers have had that feeling before? It is the uneasy sensation you get when you think about all the classes you have to take, all the work you will have to put in, with the resulting question being, “What if I never get a job? What if my major does nothing for me?”
There does seem to be a tremendous amount of bad news about the future of our country in the news and media, which only makes me more nervous about leaving school and going out into the overused cliché of “the real world.”
The media and news sometimes make it seem the only outlook for the American workforce is a pathetic, lacking story of mediocrity and regression. With banks getting billions of dollars, companies laying off their employees and houses being foreclosed at record-high rates, trying to stay positive is not an easy task.
Thankfully, there is good news. According to a 2008 report from Olivia Crosby, economist for the Federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics, college graduates are finding more jobs that suit their skills and training than in the past. If trends continue, the number of post-graduates looking for a decent job will only increase as time goes on. Of course, there always is the worry of our economy trying to stand on its shaky, stimulus-supported legs, which is liable to make some workers and job seekers have an economic aneurysm. But even with the slow increase of economic stability, sitting back and simply not trying to find a job certainly won’t help the situation.
And on the subject of paychecks, even if you are stuck in an entry-level job, Crosby’s statistics show that a college graduate will still earn roughly 60 percent more in income than a high school graduate or someone who has had little formalized education.
To put a fine point on it, students like us basically need to stick with the program and not just hope, but know that somewhere in the world, there is a niche that will cater to our skills and motivations. It may be difficult to find, but if it wasn’t, what would be the point in looking for it in the first place?
I still worry about graduation and whether or not anyone will want to hire me in a few years, but hey, we are in college. We’ve got some time. Even when I get frustrated and threaten to change my major to either “tailgating” or “Aggieville,” there’s still some glimmer of hope inside me that tells me all my hard work in class will someday pay off. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, the best part about the future is that it only happens one day at a time, and in my opinion, that’s the most effective way to look at anything in life.