Going to college in uncertain times: One person’s story
My last year of college was a time of great struggle and personal turmoil. I was having a hard time of things, and it wasn’t because of a romantic interest or because of the difficulty of my classes. I was struggling with the idea of a life after college, the one that I had fantasized about for so many years. You see I had gone to school as a journalism major and had ambitions to work for a huge newspaper magazine, reporting on current events from around the world. I did well in all my classes, even wrote notable pieces for the school paper. Everything seemed to be going as planned.
I was in college not that long ago, right around the time when the housing crisis got really bad and the economy started to take a turn for the worst. Worse yet, newspapers across the country were shutting their doors and ending their circulations because they simply couldn’t compete with the content being posted on the web. Job prospects in every area looked for the graduates in my year, but the ones for journalism seemed particularly grim with few publications even considering new hires.
Among all these negative factors, I had to ask myself the question that I’m sure many college students ask themselves every day: was this whole experience worth it? What will college do for me? I graduated with these reservations very much intact.
As I predicted, the job search after college graduation was rough. I applied to any (and I mean any) publication for work as a beat reporter or a staff writer, even when I knew they wouldn’t be hiring. Months went by in what seemed like a few minutes, and I was nowhere closer to finding gainful employment. I didn’t know what to do, and I certainly didn’t understand why I went through years of college if it just brought me to this stalemate in my life.
A different path
A few months past graduation, I started blogging. Nothing serious, I was just keeping a small WordPress for myself and using it as a journal. I had never blogged much in college, but I suddenly found myself doing it all the time. I immediately took to the online writing medium. I felt way more myself than I ever did with other freelance writing projects I did after college for local journals and magazines.
So I started building a small portfolio of online writing samples so I could show them to bloggers and webmasters who accepted articles from guest writers. To my surprise, I found myself writing more and more articles for bloggers in many different areas of interest. The work kept coming, and I was loving every second of it.
The unexpected success of my new writing career online reminded me that none of us can be entirely sure what challenges life will bring, even if we prepare for them. After graduating with a journalism degree, I was so bent on working for a newspaper that I didn’t recognize the real opportunity before me until it was staring me in the face. Life is like that all the time, revealing new opportunities and exciting challenges despite our bad attitude. It took a little soul searching (and a lot of writing practice), but I finally found a purpose for all that time I put into higher education. At least for now, I’ll be satisfied to make my contributions to the online writing community when I can.
Do you have any stories of struggle and redemption in your life? I want to hear them!
Samantha Gray received her undergraduate education online through BachelorsDegreeOnline.com and enjoys guiding her readers through the process of doing the same. She is now a freelance writer by day, and she also moonlights as a tutor and zoo tour guide in her spare time. She may be reached for questions and feedback at email@example.com.