Attending a four year university is like living in a bubble. Focusing on the present moment is something to easily be preoccupied with, especially when many students don't declare their area of study until more than two years into their education. So what happens after you receive your diploma? It's something I'm uneasy about.
List of worries for a college student:
3) Finding an internship/job
4) Finding fun plans for the weekend
List of worries for a college senior:
1) Planning the rest of their life
It seems that now that I am going to be a college senior, I will soon be faced with a massive amount of pressure to decide what I am going to do with my degree. Finding a good job and transitioning to the next phase of my life is more complicated than it sounds. College has prepared me in many ways for life post-grad, but it seems like there are millions of things I am still unaware of. At just 20 years old, dealing with all of these decisions will be a lot to handle.
My area of study is extremely broad: journalism. Although I love what I study, there are an overwhelming amount of paths I could take. And this isn't exclusive to journalism; on almost every college grad's diploma, their area of study doesn't necessarily reflect their interests or match exactly what they want to do after graduation. For example, someone who studied biology could have interests in attending law school. This fact is stressful, because one path I decide to take could be the polar opposite of another.
And that might be the least of my worries. It would be a dream to graduate and find a position that would make me happy, cover student loans and put food on the table. But in the modern job market, that's not entirely realistic. According to the University of Washington,53% of college graduates do not hold a position that relates to what they studied or even requires a degree. That's scary. Forbes has a list of the most valuable college majors, but what if my interests and skills don't mesh with any of these? (Hint: they don't.)
I'm passionate about putting happiness above financial security when it comes to my career path. Although it might align with others' goals, sitting in a cubicle staring at a screen from 9 in the morning to 5 at night is my worst nightmare.
There's an easy response to my concerns: "Just go to grad school!" But, currently, that's not a possibility for me right now. Not only is there no master's degree I currently wish to pursue, but grad school is expensive. Pursuing a degree in law is the only thing I could see myself doing, but according to these studies, the cheapest route would still be over $25,000. I might reconsider in years to come, but, right now, it's not in my best interest.
My point is that finding a secure job after college and the pressure that surrounds that is aggressively thrown on college seniors. I know I'm not alone in feeling indecisive about my future post-grad, but that doesn't decrease the overwhelming nature of the situation.
The good news is that I still have two semesters to weigh my options, apply to jobs and use my university's resources as a guide to help me discover what to do after I receive my diploma next spring. As I mentioned earlier, my happiness and state of mind will always come first when it comes to making decisions. Hopefully, this will be consistent in the upcoming year when I enter my last year of college. For now, I am going to try to relax and explore my options as much as possible.