So, here we are, at the beginning of the winter semester. For me, this semester is a bit different than the three winter semesters I’ve already suffered through – it’s my last one! For this degree, anyway.
That’s right – I convocate in April. (Or maybe June. But I’m done school in April, and that’s all that matters.) I’m trying to make the all-important decision if I should try my hand at the work force (ie. the “real world”), or come back to the safety net of university and take some more schooling.
I’m in a very practical, hands-on program here at the U of R. The journalism program is designed so you don’t have to come back to school. You should be able to graduate and jump head first into your job. And I feel like, for the most part, I can probably do that. Especially if I end up in a print journalism job, where I’ve actually had some experience in a newsroom.
Note the term “end up.” The scary thing about convocating is that you aren’t guaranteed your dream job when you walk out of the University’s doors for the last time. You aren’t even guaranteed a job in your field. (Don’t get me started on the UR Guarantee program – I’m pretty sure my program is excluded anyway.) In fact, I know, or know of, quite a few people who graduated University and ended up in a completely different job than the one they are educated for.
Part of that could be the fact that they were not in a practical program like mine. So I shouldn’t worry. Right? Wrong. The journalism world is a scary one – it’s competitive. No, it’s downright cut-throat. Budget cuts and layoffs are a fear in any newsroom and a reality in many. Full time jobs are not easy to come by, and no one who already has a job is going to give it up very easily.
I have decent marks, a basic skill set, a good work ethic, and a little bit of experience. But all of a sudden, three months before I’m due to leave University forever, that doesn’t seem like much. Even in my small class of 26, I’m up against people who are smarter, have more experience, and are, in my view, all-around better candidates for any job than I am.
So what do I do? Go back to school and take something else? Or forge my way out into the real world and hope for the best? I don’t want to have a degree and still be serving for a living. And quite frankly, I don’t want to move too badly either. But jobs are scarce, and I’ve been told many, many times that if I want to succeed I can’t be afraid to move. So what if I am afraid to move? What if I’m comfortable here, with my friends and a city I know well after four years of calling it home? What if I find a job somewhere that my boyfriend can’t?
You see my predicament. If I go back to school, I definitely won’t have to move. I won’t even have to look for a job, really. But I’ll also be further in debt, and delaying the start of the “real world.” I have to jump into it eventually. I’d like to start making “real money,” too.
So – who else is in this situation? There are a lot of people getting ready to graduate out there. Is there some six-step plan to the “real world” that I’ve missed? Whoever has it, I wish they’d give it up. Publish a book. I swear you’ll make millions, and I’ll be the first in line to buy a copy.
For now, I guess I’ll just hope for the best. I have three-ish months to make a decision. I’m taking advice though. So if you have some, fire it my way. Otherwise – good luck to everyone who’s at the beginning of their final semester. Make it a good one. Even though this maybe hasn’t been the best time of your life, I’m pretty sure it’s probably been some of the most memorable years. And maybe, just maybe, when we’re finally done, we’ll wish we could go back.
If all else fails, MTV might be hiring.