The Goddess Speaks
Diplomas, so far, lead to fast-food job
As a 2-year-old, I once got lost in a department store. I had accidentally messed up a clothing display, and while I was trying to fix it, I got separated from my mother. My mother finishes this story by saying she looked everywhere, then found me at McDonald's, where she'd said we'd be going next. My boyfriend teases me that I somehow knew I would eventually work at McDonald's. But that was never my goal.
I grew up with my father constantly reminding me that I should work hard in school and get a good job. But as I approach my fourth year of food service, I wonder if my two degrees are just expensive wall decorations. As if that weren't enough, a news article came out recently praising careers that didn't require graduate degrees.
As I got older, my father told me it'd be hard to find my "dream" job. Hawaii just doesn't seem the ideal place for an aspiring journalist, offering fewer jobs than most states. Still, I felt homesick and lost, so I left the mainland after four years and came home to attend two years of graduate school at Hawaii Pacific University.
When I graduated, I finally began to look for work. Perhaps I should have started earlier. I'd spent my college years writing for the school newspaper, going to club meetings and volunteering at the campus radio station from midnight to 3 a.m. While I don't regret those activities, I probably also should have pursued an internship. It would have helped to spend a semester working for a real paper.
With that in mind I wish to advise students: While college can be fun, it's also about preparation.
A family friend suggested I try joining local journalism organizations. I joined one, and although I met many sympathetic journalists, I didn't find a job. Day after day I tried job-search Web sites and the classifieds. Few of my résumés and cover letters ever yielded a reply. Interviews ended and never brought any sort of closure. I even signed on with a temp agency, hoping to gain some office experience. Long hours and days later, I gave up having two jobs (McDonald's/temp agency) for the sake of sanity. Then I was told that even if I am not able to find a journalism job, I should at least work on my own.
As I write this, I am slowly cleaning off the dusty writing wheel in my mind. Good things are coming out of my efforts. I might not have a job in journalism yet, but I've met new people. I continue to write. And if any postgrads out there are having as much trouble as me -- keep trying! I am. Life has handed me a lot of lemons, but that means there's a lot more lemonade to be made.
Kristen Wong is a 2003 DePauw University graduate and an aspiring writer. She works at the Temple Valley McDonald's. "Essays of about 500 words may be sent to "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and about women. If you have something to say, write "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210,
Honolulu 96813 or e-mail email@example.com.