I recently returned home from university and I cannot shake the feeling that I am suspended in some sort of limbo between student and adult. I attended a liberal arts university where I majored in Communication and minored in psychology. There are currently limited jobs in my field, and it is nerve wracking. My brain periodically screams, “I did not spend four years studying communications to work in any field other than media or public relations!”
These are common sentiments expressed by college graduates who return home to the Bahamas; in particular those who studied the liberal arts. We’ve worked hard and we want to return home and contribute to our society in a positive way, but we are not sure where to begin. We are told that you can not get a job without a college degree, so we spend thousands of dollars on years of studies and return home only to be told that there are no jobs available to us. This leads to self-doubt and, eventually, a generation of people who have jobs that make them miserable rather than careers that excite them each morning.
It is idealistic and probably a tad naïve to believe that every college graduate will work in their dream job making six figures and happily retire at 50 years old, but, it is a little disheartening to come home knowing that you may remain jobless unless you are a lawyer, doctor, or an engineer. Your pool of careers has become less of a pool and more of a puddle. We are also presented with the perpetual oxymoron that is wanting a job, but having no experience. How do I gain the experience necessary to qualify for a job if no one will employ me in the first place?
After a week of being stuck in an emotional battle between my self esteem and my lack of a career, something occurred to me. The problem is not in the degree I pursued, it is my perception of how that degree has equipped me for the job market. Liberal Arts fields are not nearly as focused as the more science oriented fields. They are, however, multifaceted.
Those of us who chose the less structured educational path are fairly equipped in a wide variety of fields, as opposed to experts in just one. This gives us a plethora of areas where we can become experts. This is not a time to be discouraged. It is instead an opportunity to explore a number of jobs and use those jobs as stepping stones for creativity and entrepreneurship.
We can contribute to the future of this country. Perhaps the first job you come upon may not sound ideal, but we must be sure that our perspective is not hindering our progress.
For example, I studied communication with a specialization in media. Editing and production are my comfort zone, however, when I had an opportunity to work in event coordination I took it. Initially it did not seem ideal, but I was able to creatively apply many of the skills I had learned in university and gain some new ones. Be a mover and a shaker. If you work at a coffee shop, introduce a poetry night or an event promoting local artists. Use the skills you possess to your advantage.
Don’t allow your lack of seemingly viable career options to be an obstacle. Take the job that may not seem ideal. The road to your dream job may be full of twist, turns, and pit stops, but I guarantee that each one is a learning experience that better equips you for your future. Your approach must be creative, and your drive must be unwavering.