With mixed feelings of hope and despair, December graduation appears to be an awkward time, falling in the middle of the school year and a slow economic recovery.
Though college graduation marks an important accomplishment, a weak job market will be a harsh reality that December graduates cannot avoid. In the second presidential debate, a 20-year-old student named Jeremy stood up in a small audience and threw his question at President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. “All I hear from professors, neighbors and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to get employment. What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly, my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?” Perhaps Jeremy was not wrong, as his question resonates with most December graduates, such as me.
As December graduation inches closer, many of us are grappling with the same question that Jeremy raised nearly two months ago. I will be graduating in two weeks with three bachelor’s degrees in sociology, political science and African studies. Although I have high hopes of landing a full-time job, the reality around me is discouraging. According to a recent Atlantic report, “more than 53 percent of America’s recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree.”
Nevertheless, there are always optimism and opportunities depending on experiences and networking skills. Because it is a less traditional graduation time, December sees less competition among graduates. Businesses aren’t on summer hours, so they often have more employees and a need for extra workers, especially in the later part of the holiday season. Spring jobs and internships see fewer applicants than summer openings, as most students are still in school.
Though a disheartening job market looms over the minds of graduating students approaching their final week of class, the best thing you can do for yourself is to land on your feet and start with some type of job to continue working. Keep trying, and good luck.