Give Grace to New Graduates, Please

Six months ago, I assumed that by now I’d be a few months into my first “big girl” position – accustomed to learning the ropes within the entertainment media industry. 

Instead, I often contemplate whether my true calling is elsewhere and if I’ll even end up utilizing the knowledge I’ve obtained from the writing courses I’ve taken in college. 

Crying after interviews and constantly reminding myself I’m not where I want to be [yet] with every job application submission or edit to my cover letter, it’s incredibly humbling feeling both accomplished education-wise and stuck professionally. 

Before my recent graduation from college, I could visualize myself working production for news, developing screenplays for television, and even taking a jab at voice acting. 

With the right amount of training, I knew I’d be able to find success. 

While these are all goals I remain privy to achieving, I certainly underestimated what life would look like even with a degree. 

The Search

Attending seminars concerning career growth and development within media, “it’s not about what you know, but who you know” is commonly used when describing the process of securing placement in various sectors of the industry. 

Instead, I believe having connections is just as vital as being able to facilitate various technological software or create a social media strategy. 

Regardless, I certainly thank my family for allotting me a timeline to secure placement without the risk of being included among the financial burdens. It is a privilege I don’t take for granted. However, not all recent graduates have the resources to sustain themselves or can remain dependent on their families [until they can secure themselves financially]. 

While the expectation that an extended education automatically secures access to the top career placements of our choosing, I’ve realized that I’ve had to work hard to submit hundreds of applications a week just to find something ideal for my career goals. 

Now, this isn’t to discredit obtaining a degree because the opportunity to work in other industries has certainly presented itself. I just believe part of the reason I’ve struggled to move past the second hiring interview stage is that I limited the scope of opportunities I could’ve explored by being afraid to develop my potential while I was still in college, especially since many internships are dedicated to those in school. 

I strongly encourage students of all ages to pursue a vast amount of apprenticeships and programs in relation to activities they may be interested in pursuing, as this may be incredibly beneficial for their futures. 

The Stats

The National Center for Education Statistics said “two-thirds of the 1.0 million associate’s degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions within the United States were concentrated in three fields of study: liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities (400,400 degrees); health professions and related programs (181,000 degrees); and business (116,100 degrees)” based on data from 2020 and 2021. 

This alludes to young adults expressing interest in pursuing their creative paths a common decision – which should be supported by families and potential employers. 

Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to work under some incredible supervision and collaborate with my peers on various projects. Yet I often feel I haven’t done enough and use that as the reason I’m still a “free agent.”

Though I’m confident I’ll eventually secure employment that will provide me with consultancy [just like anyone else looking for work and unwilling to give up], I think it’s essential for hiring managers to allow young professionals to learn from their companies of interest. 

Grace Period

Families of recent high school and college graduates should also give their children time and support for a real chance to shape the paths that best suit their happiness. Unemployed people working to secure jobs through applications, tests, and several rounds of interviews tend to find more frustration within the process than those urging them to seek employment. 

It should also be considered that depending on the circumstance, if some people can’t find immediate placement in the industry of their choice, they have no choice but to consider using their bachelor’s degree to pursue other ventures that may not align with their career goals to sustain themselves.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics listed the unemployment rate for the District of Columbia as 5.1% in June alone. 

The fulfillment of our objectives is attainable. Just please, give everyone working to carve out their lives a bit of grace to find something worthwhile. Give them the chance to grow and develop their skills instead of expecting them to be knowledgeable about an industry they have never worked in.

Article photo by Christina on Unsplash.

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