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Post graduation identity

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The break between graduation and finding that higher-paying job has allowed me to sow buttons, rearrange my room, practice my photography, socialize with friends, take a road trip, cook for myself, rediscover the iron, lose the dark circles under my eyes, laugh at Mexican soap operas but also frown in utter confusion at my future.

My biggest mistake prior to graduation was not having a plan after the ceremony. I set a goal to graduate within four years or I would be an utter failure to myself— how, why, don’t ask.

I only changed my major once—from print journalism to creative writing—in my transition from San Jacinto College to UH. You may imagine my anxiety at possibly delaying graduation to “find myself”.

I always enjoyed writing, and I realized that to be a journalist you must be a reporter first, which (don’t tell potential employers) I am not. However, to my surprise, making up people is also a challenge, though much less intimidating than talking to real aggressive ones. So I am currently in the limbo of being stuck between fiction and reality.

Maybe it was a rash decision only to finish on time, but I can honestly say my last two years of undergraduate study were by far more enjoyable and less draining than my initial two. I figured out what I was doing the last semester of college, and by then it was time to jump into the work force as a “professional” – another period of identity crisis I hope to decipher soon (though it would sadly eliminate 50 percent of my writing prompts).

I had my suppressed suspicions which I am confirming presently and should emphasize – a liberal arts degree will not land you a job right out of college. No particular degree will actually, and that is the reason why your job search should be aimed at your interests and skills rather than your degree, though they usually are related. You are mostly likely to persuade employers to hire you and be motivated to start working if you are interested in the position rather than pointing at your degree to justify why you applied.

I was one to visit the University Career Services counselors both when changing my major and job searching. Both instances have been helpful, so if you are confused or job hunting, you should definitely pay them a visit at www.career.uh.edu and then in person. The counselors made it clear that you should not feel constrained when choosing a major or a job, since you are unlikely to stick with the same interests for the rest of your life.

Being in limbo between practical and imaginative is a good thing because employers in many areas look for people who can function in both realms, which most of us are capable of doing, though we lean one-sidedly.

The trap I fell into while job browsing was comparing qualifications and responsibilities with my writing experience in the classroom. Eventually we have to turn from our academic mentality and switch to hands-on experience.

Beware about the time you take to relax after graduation; lack of productive activity can lead to lack of motivation. If that dream job seems to still be in the fantastic world, get your hands muddy with some internship experience while earning money from a part-time job. After some frustration, I landed an internship with Arte Público Press which I am looking forward to, not only because it will increase my productivity but expose me to books, authors and the publishing industry thus increasing my knowledge in an area related to my degree and career goals.

While you intern and before applying for positions, perform informational interviews to ensure you will love in practice what you do in theory. Take your bachelor’s job experience to decide whether your master’s will be related or not. Most importantly, measure success in your personal terms; you will feel more at ease with your decisions.



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