Job-Less and Graduating

Photo by Vanessa Feng

As senior year comes to a close, final papers are getting handed in, friends are having celebratory parties and the last exams you might ever take are inching nearer. Also in anticipation is the dreaded question that you receive on a daily basis from professors, advisors, fellow graduates and family: “What are you doing post-grad?”

This tantalizing question comes in all different forms, and you’ve almost become desensitized to it. The job hunt is stressful and often even glamorized with trendy career fairs in NYC, stylish business suits for interviews and perfected resumes gladly passed to potential employers with wide, though feigned smiles.

What this image doesn’t show is the hours spent on applying to any job that sounds the least bit interesting, the thirty cover letters that you have stashed in a file on your laptop, or the excruciating disappointment that comes with getting turned down from the last three jobs you interviewed for.

We may have been warned of this hectic time since freshman year, but it never felt real. Seniors experience a lot of emotion as the end draws near with seemingly nothing to show for it, job-less. You will start to wonder your worth as a scholar who just spent four years fighting for their prized degree. And you might not get an offer for a job you believe you’re over qualified for.

However, it’s important to realize you are not alone and should not settle. There are roughly 10,000 graduating seniors here at Penn State. Not everyone has a job, and not everyone with a job on the table is seeing rainbows and butterflies in their future. Through the sticky job search, do not agree to a job that you will be unhappy in just for the sake of having a job and being able to answer that exasperating question. Sticking it out for a year may be worse than your happiness and life balance.

What you can do is push on. Keep networking, reach out to career advisors here at Penn State while you still can, ask for advice on your interviewing skills and resume, and just do the best you can. That’s what we’re all trying to do! Remember that there is a 6-month grace period in beginning to pay back loans. Despite the impending graduation date, there is still time to find a job that you believe is a great fit. And there is definitely someone out there ready to hire you.