Keep things in perspective ahead of December graduation



As Thanksgiving quickly approaches and people put their Christmas trees up, it’s easy to be excited for the end of the semester.

For a handful of people at this university, myself included, December means graduation. While graduation is supposed to be an exciting time — seen as the next step in a long successful life — it can also be stressful.

In Kentucky unemployment is 5 percent, and while that is better than the national average of 5.5 percent, the numbers for those fresh out of college aren’t as pleasant.

The rate of unemployment for those ages 20 to 24 is 9.4 percent as of October 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since October 2014 that number has fluctuated between 8.9 and 10.9 percent.

Part of the reason is the demand for skilled workers in entry-level positions. Students on the verge of graduation are told to make looking for a job a top priority, and while they’re searching they find that employers are hiring people with three to five years of experience.

In the journalism program, it isn’t odd to hear of someone doing a post-graduate internship despite the fact that all students in the College of Communication and Information are required to have an internship to graduate in the first place.

While college is most definitely the real world, a thin bubble of separation protects students. Upper-level students typically take classes, have jobs and internships, and balance friends and family. Because of this it’s easy to be lulled into a sense of security. A good portion of our peers are surrounded by that bubble of protection — living in dorms, taking classes full time and trying to adjust to college.

Some students will find jobs right after graduation, and others may already have them. Some might pick up a job they’re overqualified for just to pay the bills, and others might take a few months off after years of the college grind.

My father graduated in the 80s with a degree in information systems (now known as computer science) in December, but didn’t get a job related to his degree until the spring.

He gave me this advice, which I will pass on to December and May graduates and beyond: Regardless of what comes after graduation, take a deep breath. It’s all going to work out.

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