America will soon receive, as it does every year, the newest members of its full-time workforce from the mouths of its colleges and universities.
We, the beneficiaries of these colleges and universities, will retain their fresh faces and optimism yet. Optimism is not money, however, and it most certainly is not knowledge. So here is a brief list of pointers for any student currently looking to make use of their degree, even as degree creep increases and the labor pool shrinks and bisects into part-time.
You've already been told to network. But between your classes and your social sphere, the networking you have performed probably hasn't been developed with lucrative ends in mind. So use your university experiences as a lesson – the time you wasted ought to have been wasted, if only to make you value those hours more highly than before.
You've spent several years discoursing with professors. Consider them your bosses, or rather, consider your bosses your professors; their demands will increase, but the professionalism won't.
Jobs aren't hard to get, provided your pantry is empty. Where there is a will, there is a way. Your relatives weren't lying to you when they told you about the borderline-nonsense stories of their youths.
Remember the time will pass quickly now. There is little you can do about it save make use of it. You can be a part-time hippie, but that won't do you much good when you wake up and you're 40. Time, like money, goes like quicksilver once you really start looking for it.
University was not a waste of time. If you find yourself thinking this, consider: whether you spent four years studying the grandest theories so far developed or the literature of disparate peoples or accounting, the purpose of university is to train you, professionalize you and most importantly, make you want more.
It is a factory of desire. If you hate it here, it's doing what it's supposed to do. The ones who love it too much are the ones whose notions are soon going to be disabused — and I confess I find myself in the latter camp.
Graduating into a recession is one of the surest indicators of life-trajectory. Be wary of it and leverage the time you have, quantified as youth, into some security for yourself. It really doesn't matter what you do from here on out — you'll be working regardless. Very few adults look down on the professions of others; they know the rigors of reality better than judgmental, idealistic young people like you or I. Unless the professional is a lawyer. Then the criticism stands, at least until you need legal representation.
You would be surprised how large a role chance plays in the world. Dearly bought skill, native talent and workhorse drive pale in comparison to chance and fortune.
Promotions, transfers and freak storms all operate on the same principles more often than not. Study your own particular psychology and make sure you attribute events to their real causes and not just to you: you aren't that powerful, after all.
And most certainly remember to look after the little people. You're one now, and in the larger scheme of things will remain one in the future.
Jeremy Brunger is a senior in English. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.