Here’s what it’s like to still be jobless a year after graduating college


The struggle to find a job after graduation seems to only get more difficult with the passage of time. So where do we, and I, go from here?

It was the summer of 2017 when I purchased my favorite thing that I own. I was out looking for “business” clothes in preparation for future job interviews and stumbled upon a mug that said “Broke with a Bachelor’s Degree” on the side.

A month beforehand, I’d graduated college and moved back home, starting my trek towards “Adulthood.” Up until that point, school was all I’d ever known. Once I’d had my diploma in my hands, I was so completely unaware of what lay ahead of me. I laughed at the ridiculous piece of tableware but added it to my cart anyway, thinking that it would be a fun anecdote to look back on.

Like other young twenty-something-year-olds with ambition, I had a plan in mind for my post-grad life: get a job, and move out of my parent’s house. A year and a half later and I’m still sleeping in my childhood bedroom, spending my days writing and re-writing cover letters for jobs that never even bother to respond with a “yes” or a “no.”

At this point, it feels as if I have written at least a thousand cover letters, begging companies to hire little old me who has limited experience but is a fast learner and has some of the skills they’re looking for in their ideal candidate.

I’d have moments where I thought I’d found the perfect job until I read the fine print and saw that they wanted someone who was either currently in school or had a degree in something that wasn’t my major.

My family would tell me, “Just apply anyway. A lot of times they just say things like that to get less applicants.” At first, I listened, applying to things where my qualifications weren’t 100 percent met (except for things that were described as being “required”). But then it started to become tedious, and I wondered if the extra weight on my shoulders was even worth it. I’d become upset, and would cringe when the subject of finding a job came up in conversation with my family members.

When I would read articles about how millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force — I think, well, tons of competition. Then there’s the fact that one in three millennials lives with their parents, and my predicament feels even heavier. I’d hear about my friends’ successes–moving into their first apartments or starting their first jobs–and though I’d feel happy and excited for them, I couldn’t help but wonder why I couldn’t have what they did. I wish I’d known that it wasn’t easy for everyone who graduated from college to get a job early on, or that the race for jobs contained even more competitors than I’d imagined.

I thought about “being my own boss,” and considered becoming a YouTube host or some sort of creative storyteller that received her income from advertisements or patrons on Patreon. To be honest, that’s still something that isn’t too far from my mind as I hope to one day maybe become a creative producer for a company like Buzzfeed, or be involved in the entertainment industry.

As long as I could remember, I’d always wanted to be a part of something fun and meaningful. Now that I’m at the point in my life where I’m supposed to be working, I feel like I’m on a time crunch to be successful.

I’m incredibly grateful to have a roof over my head, as I know it isn’t always the case for other people who are in my position, but I still can’t help but wish that I was on my own and independent, living the ideal life I’d pictured for myself during my final years of school. I tried to figure out whether or not I should put the blame completely on myself for not seeking out a job earlier or trying to build my experience so I would stand out in the sea of other applicants. I questioned whether or not I should at least allow some of the blame to be put on these companies that might hire people who are a friend of a friend or wonder if networking really was the only way to go, especially in my field of interest.

When I voiced these thoughts to my mom, she just gave me a look and told me that I don’t have to be successful right away. She said that the journey to a career takes time and doesn’t always work out the way that we might expect. That really stuck with me and allowed me to think more on how far I’ve come and where I’m going.

Things started to become a little less stressful when I thought about my journey towards a career as if I was on a long road trip. Sometimes you go alone, other times you have good people with you along the way that are there to support you or take over the wheel when you’re tired. You start out driving where you are familiar until you begin to get further and further away from where you are comfortable. Sometimes you are able to drive a straight and direct path towards your destination. Other times, you may have to make stops along the way to regroup or to take a break, so you can go back on the road with more energy and motivation to reach your destination.

There may be things that will stand in your way, deterring you from your original route, but there is always a detour that will ultimately lead you to your destination. It may take longer than expected and may be frustrating, but once you reach the end result, you’ll look back on the journey you took and think about the hard work you put in and the fact that the whole process was worth it.

That being said, it’s time to reflect.

Have I reached my end goal? No.

But I’m okay, and I’m not giving up yet. I have things to keep me going like being able to contribute to Culturess for one, and figuring out other aspects of my life: like making sure to stay afloat and keep myself busy doing things that make me happy so I don’t fall into a rut, or staying in contact with people who love and support me.

So while it may not be tomorrow or perhaps a few years from now, I know that I have a potentially tough and tiresome road ahead of me that will lead me to a successful job that will make me happy.

If you’re in the same boat as I am, I wish you luck and hope that you reach your destination in no time. Stay positive. You’ll get there. It may not be in the way that you expect, but just remember: success doesn’t have an expiration date.