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The Life of a College Graduate

Updated on August 3, 2017

Get a Degree They Said...


Since childhood, I was taught to behave and be a good student. I was told that from the beginning of my childhood, that if you do well in school you can get any job you want. In elementary school, I went through the classes without any problems. The same concept applied to my years in middle and high school, where I excelled at any class that I took, and there was no class that I could not pass. Because of this, I graduated from high school with a 4.5 GPA and the position of fourth in my class. My success did not stop there. I went to community college a month after from graduating from high school, and once again, I hardly had to open a book, minimal studying, and still always an A. I have long been known to my friends as a smart kid, and I assume that I am, but sometimes I wonder. I ended up completing my Associates of Sciences in a year when it usually takes people two years. However, I had the idea that I was going to be a pharmacist, so I stayed an additional year, and also acquired a pharmacy technician certificate.


After graduating the second time in two years, with two degrees, I was looking to go further. So while I began my process of applying to go to Radford University, I was also looking for a job at a local pharmacy as a pharmacy tech. That is where I encountered my first real obstacle in life. I had the education and strive to do the job, but no pharmacy would hire me. I had the experience, I had worked as an intern at a pharmacy for a semester, where I learned many things, but nothing. At that point in my life, I was a rather shy individual, but I called every day asking if they had looked at my application, and every day they would say no. So I stopped calling, and BOOM they hire someone else. Once again, in life they always said, call a job to show them that you are interested. So I did the very thing, and they go and hire someone with less experience and no license or certification?! I did not understand. However, things became even more troublesome. While at Radford, I was taking Pre-Pharmacy classes, and I was not doing as well as I usually did. Before Radford, I never had to open a book, and suddenly I had to read a chapter. It was new and very difficult for me. Some nights I would stay up hours to study for the test, and go to class, and I would be lucky to get a 30 on a test. I was sinking, and I had to change things fast or I would ruin my record forever.


About a year and a half into my time at Radford University, I made a decision, that would drastically change my life. I changed to drop my major in chemistry, and stop the pursuit of the life as a rich pharmacist, and switch majors to history. A subject with a drastically less abundant career opportunity. But I did it! Instantly my grades started improving, and I graduated from Radford University in 2013, with honors, and a new outlook on life. I was going to be a history professor, and be the type of teacher that actually cared about the students, and would do anything within their power to help them.


Not long after graduating from Radford, I enrolled in American Public University and began to pursue a Master's of Arts in Ancient and Classical History. I loved the classes and the convenience of having the classes online. Once again, I was soaring in a topic, and my grades never fell below a B in graduate school. To top that off, my Master's thesis was so well received by advisers and professors that they stated that it was the best they had seen in a long time. I had to publish. So instead of taking the long way of looking for a publisher, I self-published through Createspace, and I now have a published book. Sales have been low, but for me, it is more thrilling to say I have a book published. Furthermore, I graduated with distinction from graduate school, a title that most graduate students covet.


I have been facing my second obstacle now since I graduated in February 2016, and that is that I am yet to find a job as a history professor, or ANYTHING that works with history related concepts. I would be willing to go and live anywhere, as long there is a full-time history position. I am yet to find anything that is even close. Since 2011, I have worked at Walmart as an Electronics Sales associate, but back in 2016 I was hired as a substitute teacher (both short and long term), but nothing that is the history professor position that I am seeking. I have had a few close calls, but I was always turned down for someone with more experience. It is super frustrating, and this is where I stand today.


I am now a twenty-seven-year-old man who lives with his father (mother died eight months ago today), and still, has never had a girlfriend in my whole life. I have spent all my life focused on education, and getting the perfect career based on what I was taught as a child. Work hard and go to college and you will get the job of your dreams. However, I am now twenty-seven and I still haven't found that ideal job. I work several jobs: Walmart, Substitute teacher, homebound teacher, and tutor. However, I have dreams of having an office with my name on the door, a class full of students, and me entering the class to teach them about ancient history, world history, European history, American history, ANYTHING. Friends and family tell me to give things over to God, and let him handle it. But, I guess I am afraid of the unknown, after handling my education for a majority of my life. As a Christian, I guess it would not hurt to at least try, but I find it difficult to take that first step. What do you think I should do? Should I continue searching for that dream job? Or should I try to find something new to do?

© 2017 Adam Manuel


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