Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Graduate: What Next?

Congratulations, college undergraduate of 2013. You've completed at least four years of grueling work, party going, new friendships, and maybe even a minimal regret(!) on your journey to get a coveted bachelor's degree!

Now what'll you do?!

Don't be surprised if you're wondering that yourself, because I know I'm scratching my head too. And no, I'm not blind to those people who are fortunate to have a career right off the bat; congratulations to you if you're one of those! But I'm sure even those folks had some misgivings.

I'll get to the point: I've been unemployed  for a little over three years. I originally had a job as a cashier in a supermarket, but I was forced to resign due to transferring to a four-year university away from my home and no possibility to transfer to another store. I focused on my studies for the past two years to complete my undergraduate degree, in addition to taking part in a specialized program that would enable to pursue a teaching credential. Still, I kept a look out for any type of part-time job I could do and only succeeded to get a one day gig on campus as part of an event crew. With no more income of my own, I would have to ensure I wouldn't spend the borrowed and given money from loans and grants on trivial things, instead relying on my personal money. Frugality has always been my strong point.

But now I've graduated and I'm in a precarious position. With no job, my own savings have been dwindling. I've been living with my parents in the meantime, searching high and low for jobs I could do with my bachelor's. And even though I've graduated, I don't feel the sensation of having finished school for good; I've been at it for 19 years after all and the more I learn, the more my mind and skill sets expand.

Now, I feel like I'm in a chicken vs. egg scenario: I wouldn't mind going back to school and getting a teaching credential, pursuing an old idea in a medical profession, or even learning about computer programming. But where will the funding come from? More loans? When I can't pay them? But I can always defer the loans...I want the job now, but who's hiring? I can somewhat understand why some jobs request job experience, but if no internships were available, how can one have that experience? Is job training gone?

Recently, I took the CBEST (California Basic Educational Standards Testing) and have been aggressively searching for jobs, which has accounted for the three week neglect. I learn of my score tomorrow and whether I pursue teaching or not, the fact of the matter remains that where will the money come from. If I have to get loans again, so be it; but I want to start paying it back now. I'm the type of guy who wants to make an impact on this world, no matter how small it can be. But if I can't take care of myself, how can I help the world?

So many jobs applied and only a few have responded, most of them saying they've hired someone else or I'm not a good fit. I know I shouldn't expect a job to land on my lap, but I feel apathy kicking in. I worry it will take over before I get a promising interview or an inspiration for studying once again.

If this sounds like you, share your story; what did you or have you done to keep your spirit uplifted. For those with success, how does it feel and what do you suggest? For me, even though I'm in this predicament, I have still a little hope that something manifests before September, when repayment begins for those loans. Despair or worry will only help apathy settle...