The graduate | student divide

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So, I hesitated to write a post relating to this question. When I asked around my social group on whether I should post this or not, I got very mixed responses. I know this is a controversial topic and maybe I just took other people’s comments/questions too seriously. However, I feel that maybe there are other people out there who are facing the exact same issue.

Is there really a gap between recent graduates’ and students’ perceptions of employment? On the one hand, I feel that the answer should be no; we are from the same generation and we face the same problems of high expectations during university, unpaid internships, and more elusive entry-level opportunities . Furthermore, the majority of my friends are still completing their degrees and they have been really supportive while I am job-hunting.

On the other hand, personal experiences points to great differences between being a university student and an (un)employed (recent) graduate. Now, once again, I have friends who are still university students that they were extremely supportive. Nonetheless, I had many acquaintances/friends who really had a lot bitchassness. Yeah, I’m salty! And I want to write about this because I know I used to be one of those bitchass people when I met recent graduates.

Here are some sample bitchassery questions:

  1. Did you find a job yet?
  2. Have you applied to any jobs? Where? How many jobs have you applied to?
  3. What do you do all day? So you do nothing?
  4. I found a survival job in two weeks. What is taking you so long?
  5. Uhm, I don’t know. Network?
  6. Oh why don’t I try to talk to you about job opportunities that you have no interest in but never ask you what you actually want to do. (There is a difference between this and actually giving advice)

First, unemployment is a purgatory an experience that one needs to live through in order to understand. The implications of not finding a job are not the same when you are in university (no money, no money for tuition, nothing to put on resume, nothing to keep me busy for this period of 4 months) and when you have graduated (really nothing to keep me busy, bills, bills, loans, parents breathing down my neck about expenses, lower self-esteem).  So, unless you have witness, been through or are going through prolonged unemployment, it may be hard to make judgement calls.

As I mentioned before– and if I haven’t, I meant to mention this– I used to have a lot of bitchassness in me when speaking to recent graduates. Here are some tips to cure the bitchassness.

  • Don’t ask, “Have you found a job yet?” right before or right after “How are you?” In fact, don’t ask it at all.
  • Instead ask, “What have you been up to?” or “How are you?” Finding a job is very stressful and sometimes people are getting traction in their job searches but it is not manifesting as job offers. Or the simple fact that people are not defined by their jobs. Whether or not this person is currently employed, they still have a lot to contribute to your life and others’ communities. If you are looking to catch up, it may be better to ask open-ended questions and let them volunteer the information.
  • Unemployment is not equal to laziness. Some people think it is okay to ask you what you do all day– that’s rude. It is just rude. Often, people can’t find jobs not because, they are lazy or not trying hard enough; but because, their search has not yielded anything or they feel emotionally unmotivated.
  • Do take them out to do something. If this person is your friend, then now is the time to go take them out to do activities. It will probably allow the two of you to release tension from life. And of course, catch up!
  • Don’t give advice if you haven’t used it. Most of all, don’t be self-righteous about it. The guy who suggested that I did nothing while unemployed and that I should network, on the same night mind you, would probably struggle with networking. There are so many books written about networking and yet most people– even those, who are working– really dislike it. It is a struggle to understand how to make networking work for oneself. Don’t remind people of this lady.
  • Do listen. Let the person vent and take the time to understand their perspective. You don’t want to fall in the Bitchassery #6 category.
  • It is most likely that the graduate has applied to jobs online. Applying to jobs online has a low success rate and it is most of the times the first thing people do. So asking that question is, in my opinion, stupid.
  • Remember, people will always remember how you make them feel.

Ok, invisible readers, I think this blogpost is getting way too long but I hope that together we can stop the bitchassness pandemic and save relationships in the way.  Once again, this is not meant for everyone but rather for some people who do make people feel this way. I put plenty of links on the page, with information that will complement or contextualize the post. Hopefully, the comments don’t go crazy with hate/troll comments– but then who am I kidding? Almost no-one reads this blog. Shout out to my Japanese reader K <3.

That’s it from me. xox, S.

 

Edit: I wanted to add another do. Do connect people with other recent graduates or resources. Post-university life can strangely feel isolating and it is therefore, good to meet people facing the same challenges as you. 

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I’m going to be unemployed again

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Dang, I have neglected this blog for a while. I know I should update more frequently; however, I have been feeling a little down and I did not really know if I wanted to write about it. You see, invisible reader, after a short contract position, I am finding myself facing unemployment again. And it. freaks. me. out! I can’t emphasize enough how stressed I am. It took five months for me to find this contract position and I am scared that it will take me longer to find a permanent position.

 I know I learnt a lot from being unemployed but I kind of want class to be over. I loved my experience working a 9-to-5. I crave it– which is why it is scary that I am facing protracted unemployment. All I can do at the end of the day is to do my best, push myself outside my comfort zone, “network”, apply online, and make a blitzkrieg on this unemployment thing. But I am also eternally confused. I feel that there is either not enough information and guidance given on how to find a job or that all the information is conflicting. It makes the whole process confusing and painful.

I will stop here for today. I am sorry this has not been the most uplifting blogpost.

On being 22

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Last week, I was twenty-two. It only means that yet another year has passed since I was born on this beautiful planet Earth. However, I wanted to take the time to reflect my year as a twenty-two year old and what I have learnt since then.

When I was on the cusp of turning 22, I was in a strange place of my life. On the one hand, I could graduate from university after only attending classes for three years as opposed to the usual four years. I could also take a Masters in Management from my alma mater. Or I could just do a minor. 

It took me all the rest of summer– which is one month by the way– to decide on which path to take. Of course, invisible reader, you might be thinking “DO THE MASTERS.” But I felt that the format was too jam-packed of different classes in really short amounts of time. In other words, I thought– and still think– that if I were to invest in a masters it had to be a program that I believed in. So, at the last minute, I decided against doing the masters and just went on to do a minor in Economics.

Which turned out to be agonizing!

That econ minor turned out to be a fail!

 

Don’t get me wrong; there is no agony worse than unemployment. Yet, after starting my economics classes I realized that I wasn’t engaged; I was tired of talking about the reasons that I continued studying; I detested exams as a method of grading and so much more. My grades– my really good grades– started slipping and I started having a lot of anxiety and stress which led to many tears. 

The way out turned out to be graduating on the date that was initially available to me and making these classes count as surplus credit. And paf! I graduated. (I never got to go to the convocation though).

Eventually, I had to make the decision on whether to keep taking superfluous classes or start looking towards my next steps–which for me was a job. I chose the latter. January 2013, my job hunt began.

What did I learn during this time?

  • Don’t push back graduation because you are scared of the real world. The truth is there is a lot of learn outside university and life will surely have a way to work things out. I learnt so much since graduating; alas, that is material for another blogpost.
  • There isn’t really a difference between Economics, Political Science or any other social science. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation as me, don’t think that these things actually differ in the real word. I wanted to learn economics to demonstrate I understood math. I should have just taken classes in a local college.

Ok, that was a long, but therapeutic post for me. That’s it from me, xox. S