It has been almost eight months for me since I graduated from college. Here I am still struggling to get my life together and trying to obtain a job within my career field while also currently doing graduate school part-time. I know I am not the only one struggling since graduating from college. A number of my friends who also graduated around the same time I did are also struggling in their own way. Some are still looking for jobs in their field, others are struggling in grad school, some are still working at their minimum wage jobs, and sadly, many recent graduates out there are struggling to pay off their student debt.
Post grad life is tough and I do not think enough people are speaking out on how hard life is after college. I have friends who even graduated over a year or two ago who are still struggling. Anyways, here is a list of 11 things that people would not usually tell you about post grad life.
1. Post grad depression is real.
Ever since I graduated from college, I have not been feeling like myself. I questioned the decisions I made during college. There were times where I do not feel like doing anything or did not want to talk to anyone because of where I am at in life. I was not satisfied with my life anymore. I know was not the only one feeling this way. When I was looking at comments online from other recent graduates from Reddit and Youtube, many them voiced on how depressed they were after college and were struggling to get where they were at.
2. Having a Bachelors Degree does not guarantee you employment regardless on what you majored in.
Having a Bachelors degree, especially to employers, is just another thing to check off their list. What they usually care about is your work experience. I was never questioned on what a major in for my bachelors. As long as I have it, then I am golden. If I do not have the require work experience or do not have enough work experience, then most likely I will not be getting the job. Even if you do have the require work experience, you would still be passed over by someone who either has more work experience than you, someone who is more fit for the job, someone who already has a employee referral, or someone who interned at the company or is friends with one of the higher-ups there. Also, you should not be surprised if you get rejected from a job because your overqualified. The employer would know you would not stay at the job that long and would want something better. This happened to a friend of mine before.
3. No one cares about your GPA for most of the time.
Many of the federal jobs I have been applying to only require a 3.0 or higher. Other then that, every job cares about your work experience, which would help you make you stand out from other candidates. Usually only graduate schools care about your GPA but for jobs, no they do not. No employer ever questioned about my GPA even though it is over a 3.0. They truly only care about your work background.
4. Yes, having connections do matter.
Honestly, many people nowadays get their jobs through knowing someone. Whether it is their friend, co-worker, professor, or family member, it is all about connections. Some people would have to network a lot, whether it is online or in person at special events in order to find out about more opportunities that are not available to them. Also, having a LinkedIn definitely helps a lot because it helps build your network and recruiters can view your profile and determine whether you would be good for the jobs they are trying to fill or not.
5. Not every job available is posted online.
If you are looking for jobs by applying online only, then you are waiting until the end of time to get a job unless you get lucky. According to PayScale, 80% of jobs available are not published online. And with each job posted online, it usually gets 200+ applications. Around 75% to 80% of applications are eliminated through an applicant tracking system that every company uses. The two ways to get around that are to have an employee referral listed on your application and make sure your resume matches the key words in the job description. Getting an interview for a company is half the battle. Even if you feel like you ace the interview for a job you really want, they usually would not get back to you at all regarding your status unless they really want you for the job. People usually get their jobs either through knowing someone, networking at special events, interning at companies, or working with a recruiting firm. Even though these methods would not 100% guarantee a job, they are more effective than just applying online to no end.
6. Student debt is an issue.
I have a couple of friends who got lucky to get their jobs in their field out of college but they suffer a massive amount of student debt. One of them could not afford to go to graduate school due to student debt. Most of the money they earned just goes to pay off student debt and other bills they have, especially if they are living on their own. There are people out there who are well into their careers ten years later but still suffer from student debt.
7. No job is safe.
Even if you have a job within your career field, it is not 100% safe, especially if it is a job in a high demand field. This one person on YouTube commented she got a job out of college but got laid off eight months later. She was unemployed for a long time and struggled to get anything. Also, avoid jobs that turn out to be scams at all costs, especially if they are 100% commission. A number of recent graduates mentioned on Reddit about this. Usually, federal jobs and jobs in high demand fields like engineering, computer science, and business for example have more job security but it would not be 100% guarantee.
8. Work experience matters a lot more than just having a degree.
Many jobs would ask you what skills you have to offer and the number of years you have of work experience. This is troublesome for many recent graduates because they usually do not have the require work experience and skills for a job. It is a catch 22 type of thing. You want to gain experience by getting a job but the job requires experience. The only way you can overcome this is utilize your internship, volunteer, and minimum wage part-time job experiences for the work experience the job requires.
9. Unpaid internships will never guarantee you employment.
I did not realize until after I graduated from college that unpaid internships do not lead to job offers. I learned this from my own experience (I did four unpaid internships, which did not lead to anything) and from LinkedIn. I noticed that a number of people who have jobs already lined up after graduation are the ones with paid internships at well respected companies, who can help jump start their career and grow.
10. Having a Masters Degree or PhD does not guarantee you employment either.
They would help you lead to more opportunities but they are both useless if you do not have the work experience and connections to accommodate them (hence why I am still job searching even though I am currently working on a masters). I remember I read this one article where this person got her masters degree after graduating from undergrad but she ended up being unemployed for a year. The main issue for her was that she completely lack work experience. Her extra education does not make up for the work experience she lacks. She still got a job in the end thanks to a recruiter who assisted her in her job search. Getting a Masters Degree or PhD is still worth it though, even though it can still lead to more student debt.
11. No one knows what they are doing.
You may think recent graduates have their lives together but really, we are all struggling in our own way. Many of us do not know what comes next within the next few years. We are trying to figure out as we go. To know that I was not the only struggling makes me feel a lot better.
The post grad struggle is real for me and many of my other fellow recent graduates. It is tough but I know we can all make it through it. We just have to stay strong. I hope many people from older generations would realize our struggle, especially since it is so much harder to get a job and start our careers for us young folks nowadays. Will things get better for us? Well, one can only hope it would get better as time goes on.