What happens when you graduate from college? You get a job and then get an apartment, right? I am here to tell you that is an ill-conceived notion bestowed upon us by society.
I recently graduated from Connecticut College in May 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy. Unfortunately, COVID-19 was at a peak since March so I was forced to finish up the semester through Zoom calls and a virtual graduation. I’m sure many of you out there can relate. As disappointed as I was about not having an in-person graduation and ceremony, I was ready to snag my diploma and continue onto the next stage of my life which was finding a job.
It’s now August (almost September) of 2020 and I am still without a full-time job. There are many specific and personal details when it comes to my job search such as where I want to live, how much money I want to make, and what kind of job I’m looking for. However, I want everyone in their early 20s who recently virtually graduated from college to relate to how I’m feeling. So I’m going to leave out super specific details regarding my job search and talk about the pressures and misconceptions that we are brainwashed into by society.
I am stressed about my job search because I want a job now, I want to like it, I want it to pay well, and I want it to be in a certain location. Many people around me are claiming that I’m being too hard on myself and that finding a job takes time. First of all, I’m a Taurus, so I’m naturally hard on myself and when I want something there is nothing that will stop me. Even a global pandemic. You know why? Because there are still jobs out there despite COVID-19, so that is not an excuse in my personal opinon. End of that discussion. Second of all, when you step foot on a college campus these days, you are thrown into all kinds of lectures and career meetings that force you to talk about what the next 10 years of your life is going to look like. Meanwhile, you’re still trying to remember where the dininghall is and what classes you want to take. The gag is, everyone always says “It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do after you graduate.” Oh really? Then why is there so much career pressure on freshman college students?
It gets worse. You start meeting other people at college who know exactly what they want to do in life. Of course, many students only think that they know what they want to do, when in reality, they are still figuring it out. I fell into that trap myself. I went around telling everyone that I wanted to be a lawyer just to have something impressive to say when they asked the dreaded question. “So what are you doing after college?” Plus, I was an English and Philosophy major so I would constantly hear “What are you going to do with that?” But that’s another rant… Then I realized that I didn’t want to go back to school again for 100 years, be in debt, and risk not even enjoying being a lawyer. Despite this, it’s so challenging feeling like everyone around you knows what careers they want while you have no idea.
Society makes it seem like getting a job is super easy, when in reality, it takes forever. No matter how many times you edit your resume, how many cover letters you write, applications you send, you feel like the only responses you’re recieving are “Unfortunately, we have decided to move on with other qualified applicants.” Meanwhile, you feel like everyone around you is getting the job of their dreams, moving out, somehow affording to pay rent, and being independent. How did they get a job so fast? How can they afford rent? I’ve been working my butt off trying to find a job and nothing is happening for me. I bet if I knew the CEO of jobs everywhere I’d have a job by now. These are the thoughts that consistently run through my head.
The truth is, every single person who graduates college is completely different. Shocking right? For some reason, society has a way of grouping people together and then deeming them to be a certain way. In this case, the group is recently graduated college students who are deemed to get a job as soon as they step foot off of the graduation stage (or after they close their laptops after a virtual graduation). I’m here to tell you that this is a major misconception. I’m here to tell you that finding a job is extremely difficult and degrading for some people but not others. Graduating from college is not all that it’s cracked up to be. It can be a dark time of self-doubt, depression, hopes being smashed to bits, and overthinking the future. Do not fall into the traps of believing that everyone knows what they want and that you are never going to find a job. Because you are. I am even trying to learn from my own advice.
To all of you people in your 20s who recently graduated college, there is not a correct way to live life. Even though I might be the only person who tells you that, I know it to be true because I know that I’m different than my friends who are all striving to be doctors. I know that I’m different from those striving to be marketers, or therapists, or actors, or athletes, etc. Therefore, I know that I will find my own path in life and it does not have to be the path that society haunts me with everyday.