Lost another couple of hours of sleep last night, thinking about the position I am in, about to be thrown into the gaping maw of the job market. Only 11 weeks now until it is put up or shut up time. Another 11 weeks and I find out if a full five years of my life has been worth the trouble, time, and money that I invested in my own future. Its a scary thought, the culmination of literally years of your life. The apex of your education. Everything that I have done over these many long weeks and months hangs in the balance of the next couple of months. I will be either deemed worthy by the market, or rejected by it and cast into a pit of poverty that I cannot escape.
In 11 weeks, I graduate from Western Oregon University.
A lot has been said about my generation -- we're lazy, good-for-nothing, and entitled. We're the lost generation, the ones doomed to repeat the missteps and mistakes of our forefathers, doomed to repeat the horrible past to our future's ruination. We are the least prepared for the challenges the future has presented to us, or so the common wisdom goes. In essence, we have been deemed as failures, before we had a chance to fail or succeed on our own.
Every one of us feels that pressure. The pressure to succeed, even though we face the longest odds of success in a generation. To pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, even though our feet were cut off long ago, by forces we, or anyone, could barely understand. Told from a young age that hard work and effort would get us everywhere that we wanted to go, anywhere we desired; and then loaded with debt and sent on our merry way, not told of true reality of the long odds that we actually face.
I have a great deal of anxiety about my future, a future that looks dimmer and dimmer as the days slip by until end of my days at the University. We are living with my fiancee's parents, I am taking 24 credits, giving a senior presentation on a year's long sociology research paper, and planning to start looking for a job, most likely tomorrow.
A great deal of my time and effort gone into this education, not to mention money. As I mentioned I attend WOU, an affordable and small University in the state of Oregon. Even though you can get one of the most affordable educations in the United States at Western, I have racked up nearly 60,000 dollars worth of debt both at my local community college and at the University. When I read that number, I can feel the hairs on my head going grey. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach. I can feel the regret -- "I should have gotten a job. I should have done something to avoid all of these loans"
Fact of the matter is, I didn't. My goals were noble in quitting my job before going to school -- I wanted to focus on my grades, and I think it has paid off. I have a 3.8 institutional GPA/3.6 accumulative GPA, and I am graduating Summa Cum Laude. By all accounts, this is an incredible success. And yet, after all of this hard work and effort, all I feel is trepidation.
My goal at the end of all this was to go to law school, at Willamette University in Salem Oregon. Its all I have ever really wanted to do with my life, but after months of studying I bombed the LSAT -- 143 (21 percentile). Nothing was more embarrassing or mortifying that receiving that score. It made me feel as if I was a complete failure, it also made me feel as if this whole time the professors who told me I was too smart to stop at the undergraduate level were just blowing smoke up my ass. Even if I were to get in (my application is fairly solid besides the low LSAT score), there is absolutely no way I can pay 30,000-40,000 dollars a year just to attend. Loans will cover about half, I have terrible credit and no cosigner and absolutely no hope for a scholarship. So funding my future is a lawyer is just as distant as being admitted into a law school in the first place.
I applied anyway, still waiting on word from Willamette and a few other schools I applied for, but I am not holding my breath. I am jumping into the job market now. And I can't help but feel anxious, nervous and absolutely depressed at my prospects.
And maybe a little betrayed by the people who said that if you work hard, you can do anything you want. I know, its a petty emotion, and perhaps the entitled millennial coming out in me. Even if I do get a job that pays around 30,000 dollars a year (which is about what I am looking at), I will be buried under a mountain of debt for a very long time. Its not as if I didn't try to find a job and pay my way through school, its just that getting a full time job, sacrificing my grades and paying for about half my college costs did not seem like a good deal to me. Back then, I calculated that if I did get grades, if I did work hard, that I could get through school without racking up debt I could get into law school no problem. I didn't count on choking at the LSAT and getting a terrible score even though I practiced for about 80 hours and took about twenty practice tests.
I am scared guys. I honestly don't know what to expect out there. All of a sudden this Sociology degree is looking more and more useless. And all I can do is write it out.
Thanks for listening.