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"I believe that education is the civil rights issue of our generation." – U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, October 9, 2009

Post-Grad Concerns? Keep Calm and Dream Big

Having only two quarters to go in my college education, I’m slowly becoming nervous. It’s hard not to be concerned with the massive amounts of news stories on low employment rates and stories telling how total student loan debt has surpassed total credit card debt. When my parents were my age, they already had jobs, me, and a home, so why can’t I be independent too? Ah yes, we are in quite a different era. Back then, college was the above-and-beyond, but now it’s the norm for one’s education and it has made my generation’s lives drastically different from the one before.

I don’t particularly like this. I just don’t want to be thirty, still living with my parents, and still trying to pay back loans; I want to get my post-education life started!

In a perfect world, I’d have a job lined up to roll right into after I graduate, and move into a place of my own. I’ve been in school for what seems and eternity, and I’m anxious to obtain the outcomes I’ve worked hard for all my life. Is it so wrong to want that? No, but my eagerness warrants some attention. Only I can make this dream happen, and I have to delay gratification for some more years in order to do so.  Yes that means putting down the IKEA catalogue, saving money in the bank, building a network, building a resume, and getting a good job under my belt.

It looks like I’ll have to rely on my parents financially a bit longer. I’ll be leaving college with a bachelor’s degree, but with an accumulation of student debt along with it. This has always been in the back of my mind—the debt, it’s scary. My father always just tells me to focus on my studies, not to worry, and that my job will pay off my loans.

But will I find a job, and if I do, how soon?

Here is my plan. As always, it’s good to remain optimistic yet be smart about it. I know the likelihood of a job landing in my lap in very slim, so I’ll need to be prepared to apply and interview at several places, and be prepared for the fact that this may take some time.

While my post-graduation future seems almost entirely out of my control, the truth is, the future really does lie in my hands, just as it’s always been. In high school I earned straight A’s to get into an excellent university, and I ran miles and miles to earn a spot on the start line at the track and field state championships. I’ve made my own luck in life and I will do it again. I just have to keep dreaming big and continue being the determined, go-getter that I am. Just like someone once told me, how I’ve achieved my success in the past is a reflection of how I will achieve in the future.

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