Graduation should be a happy time, but I’m scared
Most people believe that going through college is the stressful part, but I would argue the opposite. I am afraid of graduating and what comes after, especially in these uncertain times.
If someone would have asked me four years ago how I envisioned my graduation, I would not have imagined that it would be amidst a worldwide pandemic.
In May, I will receive my bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Wright State University and set out into the world. I should be thrilled about applying for jobs and getting hired, but there is also the feeling of doubt and fear.
As college students, we are expected to find a job directly after graduating but employers are just not hiring as they had done before.
In February 2020, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates sat at 3.9%, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. By December 2020, that rate had risen to approximately 7.2%.
While in school, students learn skills that suit their crafts and expertise, but much like muscle memory, these skills can easily be forgotten or get rusty if they are not often used.
Entry level positions are important for graduates. They help them gain experience while also earning a starting wage. But those filling entry level positions also require time and resources to train, a luxury that companies and businesses may not be able to afford right now.
Just last May 2020, offers for entry level positions had dropped approximately 68% when compared to 2019.
So long as COVID-19 persists, job positions will continue to be limited, and more graduates will be left out of the job market.
According to a report by the Strada Institute, the initial job a person acquires after graduating from higher education may heavily influence the types of jobs that they will work in later in life. This makes finding the ideal first job crucial for graduates to progress in their careers.
Of course, the type of college degree one graduates with will also impact the job search process. Companies like Indeed often indicate that science and numeric oriented careers are more in demand than others.
So for someone such as me with a liberal arts degree, it is understandable that I worry about finding a job, especially since I want to go into journalism. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11% employment decline in jobs over the next 10 years.
Job searches have always been a matter of competition but now with the pandemic that competition has risen to a new extreme, one in which may cost an educated subset of the population years of job experience.
Though life seems to be reverting back to some sort of normalcy, the reality of the current situation in the U.S. and the rest of the world still revolves around the pandemic, leaving societal aspects, such as employment, unclear for thousands of workers.