College taught me a lot of things. How to interview, how to write a paper, how to study for midterms, how to be a journalist. How to be successful, what job to look for, what jobs I was qualified for. To work hard and after all my studying then would come the prize: a job.
I went into debt, I signed my life over for a piece of paper that says “Hilary Parr, Bachelors of Fine Art.” I prayed over majors and tests. I faced hard teachers and classes that would threaten to overcome me. College taught me a lot.
What college didn’t teach me is what happens when all that hard work doesn’t pay off quickly. They didn’t teach me that a college degree doesn’t automatically mean you get the first job you apply for.
They didn’t prepare me for the many “no’s” and “thank you for applying but we’ve decided to go with another candidate” I’ve gotten since I walked across that stage and shook the president of the universities hand.
College didn’t teach me that I could have good grades, a great internship, and experience and still be passed over for jobs.
They didn’t prepare me for no.
They didn’t prepare me for failure.
They didn’t prepare me for waiting.
Our society wants everything instantly. I worked my tail off for 4 and a half years in college to earn a degree I’m still extremely proud of, and I was alway under the impression that as soon as I finished, I’d move on to my next phase of life quickly.
Almost a year and a half later, and I’m still in this awkward waiting season. I wasn’t prepared for this. Especially coming from a Christian college, I always thought I was fully prepared for whatever life held after I got that piece of paper. I wasn’t.
Colleges and professors and guidance counselors need to start prepare students for the real world. They need to understand finding a job isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s utterly draining sometimes.
Being prepared for job rejection would really help students understand that it’s not always their fault.
I hurried up (worked extremely hard to finish college) to now wait. Waiting is something no one likes to do, but I’m doing a lot of it right now.
I’m going to be doing a series on advice for college students and graduates that are having trouble finding a job. I know I’m not the only one to be dealing with this, so I want to share some things I have learned and some things I wish I knew before I graduated.
For those who have had to hurry up and wait, you’re not alone! Stay tuned for advice.