Like many of you, I’ll be graduating next weekend.
Want to make a college senior instantly uncomfortable? Ask about his or her post-graduation plans.
Last semester, I wrote a column about the challenges graduates seeking employment face — many of whom have no choice but to work several part-time, minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet and begin paying off their student loans.
Obviously, this isn’t the case for everyone, but for a majority of us, the job-searching competition is fiercer than ever before, and the opportunities look much slimmer in comparison.
It’s a frustrating reality — especially for those of us who have changed majors or done things the not-so-easy way. But I’d like to think that in my four years at Kent State, I must have acquired some sort of advice to offer current students before parting ways and breaking my own, new path.
1) Study what you love. I know — wasn’t I just talking about jobs a second ago? But hear me out: I never considered changing my major from English to journalism for the sake of finding a job. I just couldn’t justify spending thousands of dollars on something my heart wasn’t truly invested in. I still worked hard as both a columnist and opinion editor this year but I decided that getting my foot in the door of journalism the traditional way wasn’t for me. You don’t always have to jump through the hoops set in place to get what you want. Go your own way.
2) Build your resume. Particularly if you’re in a major that doesn’t give way to a thriving job market, it’s your responsibility to make yourself marketable. Showing an employer that you aced Applied Literary Criticism won’t get you a job, but a technical writing internship might. In the grand scheme of things, a degree is a degree; but an experience that sets you apart from others — whether it’s your part-time job, an internship or a study abroad program — will stand out more than anything else.
3) Get ready for rejection. No, seriously, prepare — it’s going to happen, and it will suck. And then you’ll get over it, apply for more jobs, and get on with your life. Be respectful toward potential employers (even the ones who reject you) but dignified. Don’t pick your brain for all the possibilities of why he or she didn’t hire you — spend your energy on something productive.
4) Push your limits, but know when to draw boundaries. For the first half of the semester, I was working 40 hours a week at two jobs and an unpaid internship — on top of my classes. By the end of February, I was sleep-deprived and completely overwhelmed. I decided to quit one of my jobs for a slightly less-hectic schedule. There’s nothing wrong with taking on a challenge — and compromising when you need to. In fact, I’d say that’s a valuable trait from an employer’s perspective.
While I’m ready to be finished with school, I can say with confidence that Kent State has become my home, and I hope the same holds true for you.
Serving as the DKS opinion editor this semester has been such a remarkable, rewarding experience, and I hope our talented and diverse opinion staff has inspired some of you to see the world through a larger scope. Best of luck, live well, and question everything.