By ASHLEIGH GRIM
As soon as I began college, I was pressed to provide answers about internships, jobs and other future plans- but I never felt ready to answer them, or that I had the right answer.
They ranged from, “So what do you want to do?” “Are you going to be a teacher?” and even, “What are you going to do with that?”
I still get inquiries about my future. When I don’t provide an immediate answer, people almost always seem disappointed. I feel embarrassed and insecure. I feel like I should have my whole life planned out by now, but they also cause a lot of stress because I don’t have anything planned. I started thinking- and stressing- I can barely choose a place to eat for dinner, how am I supposed to have my whole life planned out by now?
According to learnpsychology.org, post-graduate plans are one of the leading factors of stress in college students. Not only is future employment a major concern for college students, the debt of student loans is haunting.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that 85% of college students have had feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed due to school in the last year.
“I understand that people are curious or genuinely concerned, but unless they are offering help or a job, their constant questions about my future just adds more stress. I am already stressed out enough trying to manage school and work during my last semester,” said Jasmine Alanis, senior marketing major and digital studies minor.
So many majors have various options when it comes to going into the workforce. Expecting students to pick from so many options while still trying to finish their area of study is an enormous amount of pressure on top of everything else they have to do.
“I get annoyed and then I get embarrassed,” said Carly Hanson, international business major and data science minor. “I have ideas and there are so many things to choose from.”
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently did a study of unemployment rates of new college graduates and found that the rates peaked at 4.3%. The research also shows that the longer students are out of college, the lower the unemployment rate goes. The unemployment rate for college graduates in general is only 2.9%. Even if students don’t get a job immediately out of college, their chances of finding one go up the longer they are out.
While the numbers are down, the search leading up to finding a future career can be quite daunting.
“On the inside I am internally screaming that I have to convince one more person to not worry about me,” Alanis said. “There is a lot of pressure on me from my parents to go after government jobs, and I am applying for those, but I am also okay with that route not working out. I can’t go one week without being asked what my plans are after college.”
As Alanis said, parents and other friends and family feel the need to push students what they think is best. There is immense pressure to find a job after college, especially jobs in demand and jobs with good pay. And while most students are told to follow their passions, it seems that those who do catch the most criticism.
“I get asked more about what I’m going to do with my history degree. I love history and always have, but when I decided it’s what I wanted to study, I have been asked non-stop about what I’m going to do with it. To be honest, I do not know,” said Alyx Wilson, junior history major.
“It stresses me out a lot because I was told to go to school for something I like and it’s history. I learned that history majors acquire the skill to write really good papers, which companies look for. That makes me feel a bit better, but it still stresses me out,” said Wilson.
So much has to be done in the final years of college, that the constant question of future plans is less than helpful to students who don’t have a definite answer at all. Most students can do so much with their degrees that figuring out which job to pick is a challenge in itself. It’s understandable that some may worry, but rest assured, students will figure it out.