Monday, September 21, 2020

Struggles follow graduation bliss

Each August, freshmen students arrive at college with their cars packed for the next four years. 

As a senior about to graduate in just a few short weeks, I can say that these four years flew by faster than I could have ever imagined. But now it’s time for the real adulting to begin. But is anyone ever ready to become an actual adult in the real world? 

Blaine Malefatto graduated a year ago with a broadcast journalism degree with minors in journalism and broadcast management. 

She is currently working as a freelance associate producer for News 12 Long Island and Westchester. 

“I was definitely lucky, I got a paid internship for the summer after graduation, others then shifted into a freelance position for the same station,” said Malefatto. “But I have tried applying to other positions since then with no luck.” 

Not everyone is as lucky as Malefatto. Some people struggle to find jobs after graduation, others have already been accepted to graduate school for the fall, and some still await that letter of acceptance.

 Senior biomedical science major Emily Gray is currently dealing with these very issues. 

“I have been accepted to a 12-month RN program at Hudson Valley Community College, and I am still waiting to hear back from both PACE NYC and Hunter College in Manhattan about 18-month ABSN programs that I applied to,” Gray said.  

This waiting game has caused stress for Gray. 

“I do feel that waiting to hear back from these schools [has] impacted my school work. It’s an unfamiliar layer of stress added on to my daily life,” Gray said. “I am constantly checking my email hoping to have heard back from the schools, and there is always this looming anxiety of not knowing what I will be doing when I graduate in just over one month.”

While the last month is supposed to be filled with reminiscing that life will never be like this again, Gray is worried about what’s to come. 

“Another aspect that’s very stressful is the one school I have already been accepted into begins two days after I graduate,” Gray said. “So I would have practically no time to relocate, recoup from the semester, and transition into a new environment.” 

 For others, the adjustment was difficult for other reasons. 

 Malefatto said: “The shift from being on my own and not being surrounded by college friends was seriously tough. Being away from so many people I saw every day was a hard transition.” She still feels this way a year later. 

There are a lot of things to think about post-graduation: getting a job, finding an apartment and starting to pay back student loans. 

All of these things can be really stressful, but they definitely are manageable. 

“I pay student loans, car payments, car insurance, credit card and gym membership all monthly.” Malefatto said. “Living at home definitely makes it easier to balance all of that.”

Besides adjustment after graduation, there can be an additional burden of debt for some graduates.  

According to reports from The Washington Post and data from The Federal Reserve, the second quarter of 2018 saw outstanding student loans hit $1.53 trillion. This can be a huge problem for those who can’t find a job in the field they just spent four years studying for. Today’s generation is struggling to acquire jobs to start paying off their debt. Meanwhile, most jobs are looking for more experienced candidates and quickly look past recent graduates. It can be rather discouraging not hearing back from jobs with a prospect of having to live at home and work somewhere else. 

I can personally attest to this. In just a few short weeks, I will have to start paying back my loans and with only an unpaid internship offered to me. 

Not being hired post-graduation poses the question if colleges are doing their jobs or better yet, if Plattsburgh State has prepared students for the real world. 

“I feel that Plattsburgh has prepared me well for continuing my education,” Gray said. “I have also grown tremendously as an individual because of the extracurricular experiences Plattsburgh had to offer.”

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