We hear it all the time that college is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
While that saying is true, it is hard for many to realize that in the moment. I know for me, I did not realize it until now. Here I am approaching graduation in the spring and I have one major regret: not participating in campus clubs and organizations, and getting an internship.
We go to college to expand our knowledge and to get a decent job. However, the job market is not like the job market our parents entered.
My family entered the workforce in the 1960’s, and back then college graduates were more rare than they are today. For my parents, when they went for a job interview, the impression the employer already had was set. They knew that my parents had the discipline and skills needed to work.
For my generation, expectations are a bit different. In my spare time I look at employment sites, scouting out what my potential employment market will look like. I soon learned that I am not qualified for about 95 percent of the jobs. Some jobs that had the title ‘Entry Level’ still wanted 2 years of experience or for some, a Masters degree.
It appeared that my options were limited to retail, sales and going back into the food industry.
I was not thinking my first two years of college that I should be joining organizations that would help me acquire these skill sets. I had jobs, however, they were not applicable to my degree. For me it was too late. By the time that my daughter came around I hardly had time to work another job and be a student full time.
But for most college students, it is not too late.
I implore everyone to do what they can while they can. Employers are very hesitant of graduates these days. They do not want to risk training a person, only to have them leave after 2 years. The truth is in the numbers: 284,000 graduates are making minimum wage and nearly 45 percent of the unemployed in this country are between 18 and 34.
It is debatable why these numbers are the way they are. Many blame our generation for being lazy and incompetent. Others blame the politicians. We can spend time pointing fingers or, we can do something to help.
With technology expanding by the minute, there is little excuse for us not to take advantage of it. It is easier than ever to find job and internship listings, as well as staying updated on the latest organizations and clubs on campus.
However, it is up to the individual on how they use this information.
Employers are not going to be impressed by how many Twitter followers you have. They are going to be impressed with how you used your time in college. Part time jobs are a great way to shine in an interview. It shows that you can manage a full plate and can hold employment.
Internships are key, and while many of my friends have done theirs, I will be a late bloomer and having to do mine after I graduate. If you do not mind doing that, great. But if you are as eager as me to start yours, I suggest you come to terms with missing a summer and applying as soon as you can. Internships are usually what sets you apart from others when employers are scanning your resumé.
You can still have a life in college without partying all the time. These are going to be some of the best times of your life, and what better way to keep the momentum going than setting yourself up for a successful future.
The more you can do now to establish an impressive resumé, the easier your life will be in the future. You do not want to be like me, staring at an empty resumé and panicking.
Do some research and invest in your future.
Holly Mayer is a junior English major and ethnic studies minor. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org