Photo of Oxford University from Eye of Qvox
My favorite thing(s) about this guest post from Susan Acker? It’s flat-out honest, with a dash of vulnerable, and a huge side of reality. Anyone in their 20’s who has lived through this Great Recession, will surely relate to the words below.
Just get your degree. That was the constant piece of advice while I was struggling to get through college and thinking that maybe it was not worth it. But those four words constantly flashed in my mind like a glowing neon sign on the Vegas strip. Everyone said that a college degree meant endless opportunities and open doors. One of my mentors also said that no matter the cost, it was worth it because no one could ever take my education away.
After completing six years in college, accruing an insurmountable amount of debt and working at several jobs that didn’t require a degree, life looked a bit bleak. There were times when it all seemed pointless. There was so much pressure to be accomplished and important. It was overwhelming. But then it hit me. The only reason the pressure was so crushing was because I had allowed the expectations, hopes and plans of others to fill my mind and I had stopped listening to my dreams.
Graduating in the midst of an economic downfall was not what I imagined when I dreamt of leaving college behind and stepping into full-fledged adulthood. And I was not prepared for that. There was a glimmer of hope with a job waiting for me right out of the gate. Though it was a short-term internship, it was a paying gig that gave me more experience and something to add to my ever-growing resume. After three months of traveling two to three hours every day for little pay and no benefits, it was back to hitting the pavement.
Days spent writing and re-writing cover letters, customizing various versions of resumes and spending hours searching the Internet were the norm. Again, the effort paid off with another job. This time, it was for a bit more pay and it was a longer gig—six months.
Life went on and here I am, two years and four jobs later in a position that does not require a degree, but for the first time I am happy and just plain thankful. Feeling guilty and ashamed for not having a job that meets the standards of others is ridiculous. In my estimation, what I have is pretty amazing for me right now. I am a survivor and I’m doing the best that I can with what I have been given.
Susan Acker is a college grad in her mid-twenties trying to survive and figure out what it means to be a grownup. She is almost as passionate about writing as she is the color green. FInd more Susan at The Writing Redhead.