Okay, fine, let’s talk about it

Fifty-one percent of teens (61 percent of females; 42 percent of males) had discussed with their parents “how to know when you are ready to have sex.” According to specific researchers, this is totally irrelevant to my blog post.

Let’s talk about Graduation.

I’m scared. I’ve been scared. Not really about the ceremony, though there are certainly things to fear about that. What will I wear (gown commando has been suggested), how not to trip, do I decorate my cap, where the hell will everyone eat when few places in Columbia accept reservations; the list goes on.

What I’m really afraid of is the question that comes immediately after “So are you excited for graduation?!?” which is almost always asked by older, soundly-employed adults with faces lighting up with an emotion I never find myself relating to. Just typing this post is giving me indigestion.

Because right after they ask that horrifying question, they ask the next one: “What are your plans after you graduate?!?” They ask this in a seemingly interested manner with only slightly less enthusiasm than the previous question. Maybe that’s just my experience because my likely answer to the first question is a hard, short, fast “no.”

Why do I feel so much fear? Maybe it has something to do with the 13 percent expected decline in positions in my chosen career over the next 8 years. Or just the fact that in Journalism alone, unemployment is at 7.8 percent–6 percent of experienced graduates. Even worse, 4.2 percent of graduate degree holders can’t find work in the field of their choice if that choice is communications or journalism.

That isn’t to say a number of my friends in the journalism school won’t get jobs. A significant number of them will. That significant number probably correlates with people who have dabbled or switched altogether into strategic communications, but hey, it’s hard out here, right?

I don’t have a job yet. I do have a plan, but a plan doesn’t pay the bills. I got my first rejection letter the other night. While I was expecting it, I can’t say it filled me with joy (I almost mis-typed that as job, ha. ha. ha.).

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I also haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to be filling out applications. It’s hard to prioritize getting all As for the shred of hope that you’ll get an honors certificate versus taking the time to fill out a job application that you will most likely not hear back on. My next 2 weeks look rather dismal as far as free time goes.

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So the fact that I’ve taken the last 3 mornings to sleep in is something I will look back on in the next 14 days and remember like a distant dream. The fact that most of the times I’ve woken up those mornings I have felt like there was literally (not figuratively) an elephant sitting on my chest has made me consider not getting out of bed. If I don’t get up, the stress isn’t real, right? If I just fall asleep for another hour, it might all not exist.

You might say I’m bordering on depression. I probably would be, if I had time for that. I don’t. Notice you don’t see penciled in “cry for 30 minutes” on Thursday morning. “Contemplate jumping from the roof” will just have to be pushed back until after the 16th. But see, then, my stress will have died down. I will be one of those awesome unemployed graduates. Officially an adult, officially not on my parents’ dime, officially owning my own car, officially all on my own.

It doesn’t feel good. It feels scary. Telling everyone I’m packing up and moving to Washington or Oregon (most likely Olympia or Eugene) sounds really nice as it is dripping from my mouth, but it doesn’t feel nice in my stomach. It feels like lies and terror. I can get to these places and if I save right, probably even put down a deposit and first month’s rent. But then what? I still need a job once I’m there.

Starbucks, the post office, professional nanny: they all sound great in theory, but I don’t have them yet. And then there’s the matter of having to find time to freelance while I’m doing those things. I chose this path, I chose this path.

Then there’s the matter of encouragement. I recently posted on facebook this little diddy, which actually made me feel more bad than good after receiving so many likes and comments.

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So many people responded with “good jobs” and “there will be many more” and “let me read!” Maybe it’s just me being an asshole (it probably is), but these all just ended up irritating me. I did this work 7 months ago. 7 months is not a job in 2 weeks. It’s nice, certainly, to add to my portfolio. But it’s not a job. No one read it who said good job (except my editor, who did read it), so they are people blindly encouraging me. No offense, but constructively telling me all the ways I suck and could improve would probably be better. I just plain didn’t understand those who were interested in reading it. They weren’t hiking people, and they certainly weren’t about to undertake the top 5 Northern Territory walks in Australia. Again, if any of those reading this commented, I’m being an asshole. I’m stressed out and taking it out on you. I’m sorry.

At first I worried a lot about not having a niche. I spoke to one professor who told me I needed to nail down what really was special about me and my work. I couldn’t land on anything. Chalk it up to low self-esteem, I guess. When I was ambush-interviewed by the person who sent the above rejection letter, I got the sense that she felt I had way too much international writing experience to report for a small community. I had never really considered these two as mutually exclusive and that likely hurt the interview. A niche of mine was pointed out to me and it turned out to be negative.

Typing this all out isn’t making me feel any better, I just thought I owed some people an explanation.

There’s not really a way to change the amount of upcoming work I have, more lists will just be lost, and morning panic attacks are going nowhere. At least not until I walk across the stage and let the chips fall where they do. Then the grades and the GPA come the following week and I’ll update my resume and know for sure about the honors certificate.

All that leaves is a desperate and furious focus for three months until my lease is up to find some semblance of employment. I can only hope and pray that it’s in journalism. I don’t feel hopeful, however, I just feel like I’ll be soon adding to the 7.8 percent.


6 thoughts on “Okay, fine, let’s talk about it

  1. Dear Ally, first thing. Take a deep breath….and relaaaax! You’re putting the horse in front of the cart (which is never a good thing, especially if you’re Amish). You know what you have to do over the next couple of weeks, so put your head down and do it – because you’re not there for a haircut (Kiwi saying). Just focus on what you have to do right now so you can finish off your studies on a high note. You’re smart, articulate and by your well written blogs and GRW articles you have a good writing style. You’re also keen to learn and keen to grow, and these are things an employer would value above all else. Trust me.
    Having real world experience in print and online journalism will carry some weight and of course I’m more than happy to be a reference (I promise to type slowly so your potential employer/s will understand me). If I can send some work your way I will. Let’s put our heads together and come up with some ideas.
    The next job is getting your fabulous CV out to the right people and most importantly you having faith in your abilities and not letting those nasty Grinches in your mind giving you self doubt. Because the only real thing we have control of in life is our thoughts. That’s it.
    (Well that’s what the Lorax told me.)

    Take care.

    • Brent, your words could not be better timed. I really appreciate it and everything you’ve done for me. As soon as school is off my plate, I’d love to take on anything you can send my way. I’ll let you know if I need that recommendation!


  2. Ally! Take Mark’s comments to heart. As your Grandmother and I have told you, you are not alone out there. WE are here to help if needed. We can’t offer you a job, but we have all the confidence in the world about you and your abilities. See you soon, Gpa.

  3. Ally, when you are having doubts about your ability reread Brent’s reply. My own advice is similar do the thing you have been avoiding or hate the worst ( first) and get it out of the way. All things will be easier after that. Remember all things are possible, most not easy. Chin up and keep on trucking. GMA

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