Posted by: malpants15 | May 31, 2009

Meet Mallory. (AKA Pomp as a Victim of Circumstance)

 

Bright future in front of her.

Bright future in front of her.

Ah, graduation.  Finally, the culmination of my academic efforts boiled down to a two hour ceremony surrounded by some of the brightest and most well accomplished students in the nation. And about forty reminders that I don the traditional silly robe and square hat in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.  Steinbeck’s second wet dream.  

David Skorton, Cornell’s President, offered this helpful little number game: Less than twenty percent of graduates are getting jobs.  Awesome.  Twistedly, I felt better about myself. 

That is, until I got to my major’s graduation, and my dean told me that two thirds of our class had plans for the next year.  He said it in a celebratory manner, forgetting that a third of the class was still trying to figure out how to justify their student loans and four years of academic masochism.  I mostly tried to refrain from throwing my chair at him and settled my need to disagree by turning around and shaking my head at my parents.  I am sure they were proud. 

Recently, I had an interview during which I was asked to talk about my high school and college experiences.  I listed of my pre-Cornell prowess, covering the spectrum from Mathlete to sports captainships to band geek.  I explained how I arrived at my major, Industrial Labor Relations, a mix of the soft sciences and a focus on the people end of business.  I wrapped it up with a 3.6 in the best school for my major at an Ivy League institution (read: well-adjusted nerd).  What more could an employer or parent want?  I was a well-balanced, likeable over achiever without the ego or drug problems of a pre-I banker or sorority president.  Chalk it up to my socioeconomic background, appreciation for hard work, or general malevolence for wasted opportunities, but I have done my best to prepare myself for the real world.  I was a shoe-in, bound to have multiple offers by the time graduation rolled around. 

Enter economic clusterfuck.  Now I am an apathetic, bitter, grumpy graduate.  What happened to the security of the top 15 university rank holders, the great equalizer? Jobs were supposed to come to me.  Now, maybe more than ever, I am seeing just how unequal this all can be.  Those with connections still can hold their heads above water while I move back home accompanied only by student loans, unsellable textbooks, and a suitcase full of theme party outfits.  Welcoming me with open arms are the stuffed animals I left on my childhood bed and my parents who I feel I have disappointed but support me anyway; as grueling as it has been to receive back to back to back “we don’t have a position open right now/that meets your qualifications/that ever existed.” It has been stomach destroying to try to explain to my mother, the most optimistic cynic ever (which only makes it worse) that no, something won’t come along.  No, please don’t turn my room into dad’s personal yoga studio…whether I am home or not. 

I used to think only old men whose diets consisted of OJ and chili variations needed ulcer prevention methods.  The application process, however, has turned me into Mylanta’s #4 customer, behind three men with two first names each.  (I am rapidly approaching Billy Bob’s #3 spot, wish me luck!)  The parents are slowly starting to understand just how dire my straits are and how little I want to discuss my job hunt.  They let me sleep past noon and eat pizza for breakfast and no longer question what my plans are for the day. 

That said, I am slowly organizing my post Baccalaureate life; if not putting the pieces back together at least making piles.  I know that I have a great network of friends, a supportive family, and easy access to a large city.  I remember once being driven and dedicated to my future.  I even recall a time when I put pants on before 4pm.  Baby steps.

 


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