By: Kathleen Krzyzanowski, IATG Contributor February 10, 2016
I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in June of 2014. What had felt like the longest years of my life had finally come to a close (yay!). Throughout my entire university career, the one thought that got me through the endless assignments, burdensome readings, three-hour lectures at 8:30 a.m. (my brain is not able to launch into a critical analysis of modern day struggles at this time), and all-nighters was the fact that one day it would all be over. That is, until I began graduate school.
I have always known that I would pursue a higher education after receiving my undergraduate degree. What I didn’t know, however, is that the time in between degrees would end up being more than a year and that trying to find work as a recent grad can be brutal.
I had been warned by a few that this time would be difficult. “I’ll be fine. I’m not worried,” I thought to myself. Damn, was I ever wrong. My undergrad program was not one where internships were common, so I fell back on one of the best ways to make money and manage somewhat of a school-work balance: waitressing. Yes, summers bring pretty sweet money if you don’t mind working insane hours and having almost no social life, and it can definitely be a fun job (mostly fun once you finish your shift). But what are you supposed to do when you need to expand your skill-set and experience beyond customer service in the food and beverage sector? Apply to jobs that you feel qualified for, get interviewed, and land an awesome job, right? Not exactly.
Trying to get experience without any experience feels nearly impossible. Employers seemingly expect recent grads to have a ton of experience for entry-level positions. Isn’t the entire point of an entry-level position to allow you to gain that exact experience they’re looking for? Being totally real here: it’s nonsense, and it seriously sucks.
All I can say is that if you are in this position right now, you are NOT alone.
There are so many of us struggling to navigate these waters, and it’s okay to feel completed fed-up, frustrated, and like you want to cry and throw your hands up and say, “Forget it all. I’ll just drink a bottle of vino.”
When it feels like it was all for nothing – the money spent, the time invested in studying – at least most of us recent grads are in the exact same boat. For me, knowing that there are so many others going through the exact same hardship as I am right now makes coping with post-grad woes somewhat more manageable. All we have to do right now is survive it and keep moving through it, knowing we are not alone in this struggle that is all too real.
How have you handled the struggles of graduation? What tips do you have for recent grads? Share some post-grad survival goodies on social, on your blog, or reach out to other friends for conversation.
Kathleen is a recent(ish) graduate from Carleton University, holding a B.A. in Human Rights. She is passionate about social justice, female empowerment, self-development, and all things health, nutrition, and wellness. Really into good music, good vibes, writing, delicious food & wine, Netflix marathons, and connecting with innovative people. Sweatpants enthusiast. Self-proclaimed cat lady.
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