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Reflection of an English Major College Graduate

Updated on May 2, 2018
social thoughts profile image

I have a B.A. in English with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I've been a Goth since age fourteen, and a Pagan since age fifteen.

Section of my diploma
Section of my diploma | Source

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I have decided instead of ranting on a social networking site, I would rant on here in a productive way. Perhaps the experiences I write about will either inform others about the struggle of job searching after graduation or, at the very least, make other graduates feel less alone.

Hi, in case you have not read my "information" section, I am a college graduate. I have a bachelors in English writing, and graduated in 2012 with honors a.k.a. cum laude. This information should be semi-impressive, especially on a resume; however, I have never been an employed writer nor been employed through any other means than a minimum wage job I have held for almost eight years—yes, this means I began that job during my second semester of college in 2007. Meanwhile, customers frequently ask me questions such as "When are you graduating high school?" Sigh!

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I have been writing on HubPages for over a year. It was suggested by Monster, several times; so, I decided to give it a try. I was unaware it would never provide a reliable income—I've only been paid once—but it has been enjoyable as a platform to write and express myself, as well as meet some other writers. So far, I have written a few articles on the challenge of being employed in your field after graduation. One is a review of one of my favorite films Reality Bites while another is on that insulting but constant question "What is a Real Job?"

Helping High School Students Get a Head Start

Returning to the topic of high school, after each 2-4 hour session of job searching and applying, most of which I can tell will never consider me due to the need of experience using particular computer programs — each listing different computer programs I have never heard of — I desperately wish to go back to my high school, demanding to make a speech before the entire student body to inform them on the importance of volunteering for different things, now, before they enter and graduate college. The reason being that in today's job market "a minimum of five years experience" is a requirement. Where does one acquire such experience? I guess I should have begun when I was a teenager. Who knew that half a decade of experience in something I didn't know existed five years ago would be the only way to be employed after graduation?

Most unemployed college grads are angry with their colleges for failing to provide the experience needed to become employed. While this is understandable, there is no way I would have the time to volunteer during my college education to meet these expectations. I would have had an internship, but I barely had time outside homework, class and my part time job. How would I have an internship in addition? Plus, who wants to spend half a decade after college graduation earning years of experience they could have earned during high school?

Have you ever been insulted by an interview question?

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Learning From Interviews

Most of my applications never generate a response; not even a quick "Sorry, you don't quite fit what we're looking for." However, the ones who have asked me for an interview have taught me a lot about my worth, or lack there of.

First, interviewers ask if I've edited before. Well, of course I have, but that was for my college papers. Apparently, college experience doesn't count. Lesson one: Educated professors threw As and Bs at me, apparently; meanwhile, lower grades were given to other less deserving students or something. Now, the new lesson, after editing for two nonprofits for several months: how much I was paid? Well, one was volunteer, while the other was an unpaid internship—except for the one time there was a sponsor for the organization, so the director split the profits with me, her writer. Ah, this must mean I am not a "very good writer." Yes, one interviewer said this; even though both nonprofits loved my writing and would hire me if/when they can afford it, which is a common issue for nonprofits—if that guy knew anything about nonprofit organizations. I should quit writing, being that I'm so awful at it!

Speaking of money, how does one really discuss salary with any of these interviewers? Shouldn't they offer a salary so we know if we're asking too much/too little? The same interviewer who told me that because I was not paid for my work for the nonprofits that I must not be a good writer also told me the salary I was asking for was too high when, after researching later, I found to be significantly lower than the average salary of someone in that position working in that location.

Bottom line: We are supposed to be educated, paid-well by others, but ask for less than we deserve.

Side-Note: Never use or say you are "hard working" because everyone says that. You need to prove it!

How often do you edit your resume?

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Resumes for Editing Lovers

One of the most time-consuming parts of my job search is updating my resume. I wish I could say it's because I keep being hired for new jobs, but no. Every week, there are new articles on how to construct a perfect resume, and what to avoid. If, like me, you read articles on how to improve your lack of a career, on a regular basis, you may have read articles that completely contradict each other. One article will say to use a particular phrase that makes the interviewer choose you while the second article says to never use that phrase because it ruins your appearance as a candidate. How are we college graduates supposed to succeed in the job market with conflicting advice like this? The saying about how "women don't know what they want" should be applied to modern day employers. If every job listing is looking for us to read their minds for what is "taboo" and "desirable," how is anyone hired for these jobs? Honestly, I would love to meet these hired applicants, so that I know what I am lacking as a motivated person who wants their work to be as perfect as possible.

Humor Remedy

If this article is depressing you as much as the reality of the situation depresses me, this Jenna Marbles video may help! Jenna Marbles has a bachelors in psychology, but has yet to have a job in her field; instead, she makes entertaining YouTube videos! She is one of the most well-known and successful YouTubers on the internet. So, don't feel alone! Maybe, YouTube is the solution for all of us unemployed college graduates. If we made money from YouTube, at least we could pay off our loans, even if we can never have a job in our fields.

© 2015 social thoughts

Comments

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  • Rumasa profile image

    Rumasa 

    3 years ago

    Thank you and good luck :)

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    3 years ago from New Jersey

    Rumasa,

    Damn. I wish they valued both of those. I think that's an excellent start! Keep pushing on, anyway.

    I am planning to read your work! :)

  • Rumasa profile image

    Rumasa 

    3 years ago

    I worked at the college newspaper for a year and a half as the Biz & Tech Editor, and I also interned at a magazine for 9 months (it's technically a business media company that has a slew of trade magazines, I worked for one of them). I didn't get published, but I wrote some web content for them.

    These experiences don't count so much for two reasons. First, not many would take my college job seriously. Second, the overall amount of experience is only a year and a half. And you know how they always ask for three or more years. Anyways, I guess we just have to go with low paying jobs for a while until we build up some experience.

    I almost forgot to mention that I work part-time for a local newspaper company, too. So I guess I am lucky to have something going on. Anyways, I will be sharing a lot of my frustrations/experiences/advice weekly, so feel free to check out my hub:)

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    3 years ago from New Jersey

    Rumasa,

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I'm surprised and not surprised. I hope you will decide to stay proud of the work you have done, regardless of what 'those' people tell you. I'd like to hear more about your experiences with the newspaper and magazine, please. :)

  • Rumasa profile image

    Rumasa 

    3 years ago

    This article is the story of my life. Well, for the most part. I am also an recent graduate, majored in English writing and struggling to find a full-time job. Do you want to know the sad part? I HAVE EXPERIENCE WORKING AT A NEWSPAPER AND A MAGAZINE, lol. But that doesn't amount to a whole lot, I guess. Today, I interviewed for a position of Associate Editor at a company, and you know what the interviewer told me? That I am too "raw", and don't have as much experience as other people who will be interviewing for this position (a.k.a I don't stand a chance). Yup, that was great to hear. Anyways, I'll quit ranting now. I hope you find a job that pays you well. Good luck!

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    3 years ago from New Jersey

    Melissae, thanks for your comment.

  • melissae1963 profile image

    Melissa Reese Etheridge 

    3 years ago from Tennessee, United States

    Good Morning. I read your article with great interest. As a teacher of English, I'm intrigued for two reasons. I teach, therefore, I'm responsible for teaching students how to get work after school. I, too, graduated with a degree in English. I chose to get my teaching certificate as a back up. I'm glad I did. Now, I'm close to retirement, and I wouldn't change a thing. My daughter is in college. She's majoring in Animal Science.

  • FreakFran profile image

    Francine Oliveira 

    3 years ago from Minas Gerais, Brasil

    I kinda like not having a boss or a company to respond to, but I wish to have some stability, and I believe a job as a university teacher can serve me well in this matter LOL

  • PAINTDRIPS profile image

    Denise McGill 

    3 years ago from Fresno CA

    Fran and Thoughts, just jumping in here on the freelance issue. We artists know that freelance is all there really is for us unless we want to work for a large company as an art director or advertising artist (which I don't) so even with a master's degree in illustration, I will forever be going from one small job to another. Some months will be good some not so good. It's the way it is for lots of people.

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    3 years ago from New Jersey

    Aw, could be. Though, it would offer more variety than most positions, right? ;)

  • FreakFran profile image

    Francine Oliveira 

    3 years ago from Minas Gerais, Brasil

    I wonder if freelancing is every Humanities graduate destiny... :X

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    3 years ago from New Jersey

    FreakFran,

    Thanks for commenting!

    That's a super impressive education! You sound awesome, regardless!

    I'm working on freelancing, too! :)

  • FreakFran profile image

    Francine Oliveira 

    3 years ago from Minas Gerais, Brasil

    I have a bachelors in Literature, a degree in English Language and a masters in Literary Theory... all of them have been quite useless so far... so I've decided to keep on studying to achieve PhD and become a university teacher, because that's the only job I won't be told I'm overqualified for! In Brazil, if I teach in schools, my salary will be one of the lowest, and what we call "private schools" in our system won't hire me because, having a masters, they're required to pay me extra, and they aren't willing to do this. Sounds just like a bad joke!

    As a result, I'm freelancing until I manage to be accepted in a PhD program (hopefully, by the end of this year) and let's see what I'll become then.

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    3 years ago from New Jersey

    Venkatachari M, actually I'm quite smart. My point is my worth is not based on that. It's based on specific unattainable new program and hands on experience. I'm fully capable of learning on the job about a program or doing new things with success.

  • Venkatachari M profile image

    Venkatachari M 

    3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

    Very sad reality of our education system. It only provides a Degree but not provides you with the knowledge required for our practical life problems. This is a universal problem and fact. We have been lucky to get some job or other in those 1970s and 80s. But not now. Our education system creates more unemployment than knowledge. Very pitiable condition.

  • PAINTDRIPS profile image

    Denise McGill 

    3 years ago from Fresno CA

    I'd love to chat anytime you like. I think my email is attached to my profile. dancingpaintbrush@gmail.com

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    3 years ago from New Jersey

    Denise,

    Thank you for your comment. It is definitely not your fault he was an abuser, but as someone whose father abused her family, as well as having an artist for a mother, I am even prouder of you for what you're accomplishing! I would love to chat!

  • PAINTDRIPS profile image

    Denise McGill 

    3 years ago from Fresno CA

    Hi social thoughts,

    Love this very thoughtful and truthful, if depressing hub. I was one of those girls who wanted to go to college after high school but stupidly got married to an abuser instead... that's another story. Anyway life and kids came and went and finally at the age of 60 I am now a college graduate. Still as an artist there are very few jobs out there and so I decided to get a Master's degree in illustration. My debt will be astronomical when I get done next year but I feel I didn't get what I needed in the first 4 years of college. Isn't that sad. The real information on programs and equipment, business and interviews has come in this master's program. Something is dreadfully wrong when you have to get this much extra debt before you get the real info needed.

    Blessings and good luck

    Denise

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I'll leave the light on for you. :)

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    3 years ago from New Jersey

    Thank you for your comment. :)

    Oh my! You are quite experienced in a variety of areas, which I could tell, but there is the proof! Education vs. trade is another fascinating debate. I think there is great importance in both, but they tend to disagree with each other, not acknowledging their similarities. Both take work and dedication to gain.

    Haha I would love to visit, sometime. There are several places I would love to see. I hope I am able to and I would definitely visit you!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I came out of college the first time with degrees in Marketing and Economics. My first job after college....working in a warehouse. LOL Then I went back to college for a teaching degree and did that for eighteen years, teaching middle school and high school. You are right, of course: high schools today do very little to prepare a student for the real world. Colleges do just slightly better. We need to revamp the entire education system in this country because we are doing a disservice to our students. I often think a student would be much better learning a trade rather than getting a degree.

    I think you need to come to Washington. Much better opportunities here for a free-thinker like you.

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