You’ve finally made it to the home stretch: graduation day.
Caps and gowns on and diploma in hand, you look around the auditorium, imagining all the great things your classmates will go on to accomplish. Wondering which one will be the founder of the next best tech startup, which will go on to be a worldly philanthropist, which one might even win a Nobel prize?
Four (or more) years of late nights spent studying at the library, late nights spent NOT studying at the library, and time spent discovering yourself in ways you never thought you would – spent finding out that the fishbowl which was high school and all that came before it was only a preface to your life. Even though you think you haven’t changed much fundamentally during the course of your university career, the truth of the matter is that from the minute you left the nest and embarked on this journey of self-discovery, day by day you’ve become an entirely different person.
Before you started university, your parents told you to make the most of it, because those four years were the best of their lives. But you’re an optimist, so although you did join all the clubs you wanted and made friends with your professors, you imagined these years to only be a kickstarter for the ride of your life. So you walk out of your graduation ceremony, tossing your cap in the air along with all cares in the world, because now that you’ve formally got what you came here for, you feel invincible and ready to take on the world.
Then reality sinks in.
Where do we go from here?
Now, everyone’s journey is a little different right after graduation, but their struggles arise nonetheless.
Oh, the damned traveller.
The one we all envy, despite ourselves. Now, their journey may last anywhere from a month in Asia to a year travelling across the world, but no matter the case, this is the person we all want to be after graduation. Of course, they face their own struggles upon return, but that’s a topic for another time. The traveller has saved up enough money to leave their worries at the airport departures gate and embark on an adventure where they’ll try new foods and meet new people, and make their instas pretty fire. For most, travelling for long periods of time is simply impossible after starting to work full-time, so post-grad is the prime time. We all want to be the traveller, but some of us won’t be.
The One With The Job Lined Up
Maybe they started interviewing for jobs back in September, or they snagged a job at the place they interned at last summer. Either way, they’ve got a job lined up, and they want you to know it. Some consider them ‘The Lucky Ones”, and honestly, they are. However, losing the flexibility and freedom of working around your own schedule in university to waking up at 7am every day to work a 9 to 5 shift, whether you like it or not, is an adjustment and struggle in itself.
The 10-20% (The Others)
And then there are the others. The 10-20% (Canadian Statistics) that didn’t get jobs straight out of university. This percentage excludes the ones that accepted jobs out of their fields simply so that they would have a source of income to repay debts and make a living, so this percentage should really be a lot higher. It includes those working part-time at retail stores, or in economic terms, the ‘underemployed’. These are the people who yearn for the days when a university degree guaranteed a stable future and a secured job. The ones who scramble to reach out to their network, scour LinkedIn and other job sites as they move back in with their families and try to figure it all out.
I am one of the others.
And in this blog, I hope to take you on the journey of figuring it all out, from start to finish, even though we all know there is no finish line. The curve is continuous, with high highs and low lows, and for many people, life after graduation starts off at an all-time high but then dives pretty low. Everyone talks about the ‘struggling artist’, but in this day and age, we have another typecast upon us:
The Struggling Graduate.