Illustration By: Lily Lazaro
With the ending of spring quarter right around the corner, the countdown towards graduation begins. This academic culmination signifies all the sleepless nights spent studying for exams and the completion of student projects in their various extracurricular organizations. Graduation is therefore a sun-kissed day of elated celebration and long-awaited sighs of relief.
Before you nod in agreement, let’s backtrack a bit and retrace our steps. The four or so years spent in university education, plus the other years we invested in grades K-12, ultimately, what was it all for?
Hallmark prescribers would say, “a better future,” but let’s not ignore our pragmatic friends, who, I would presume, would roughly answer saying, “a future shaped by a profession.” We are all here, because, in the end we have to find jobs that will sustain ourselves as well as our families.
With the repercussions of the financial crisis fresh on our bank accounts, “unemployment” has seen a creeping revival within political debates, media coverage and in suburbia’s dinner discussions. Yes, graduation signifies the end of a chapter of positive (and, at times, hung-over) growth, but will it also mean a step towards an uncertain future?
According to UCSB’s Director of Career Services, Micael Kemp, UCSB students who graduated last year (SY 2010-2011) were in better shape than those from the year before them (SY 2009-2010), and things are similarly looking up for this year’s up-coming graduates. Kemp says that with the country’s economic situation, it may take longer to find jobs, but UCSB graduates eventually get accepted into professional fields that they are passionate about.
Zi Cheung, a fourth-year Economics major said, “I am a little positive in looking for a job, because I’m looking into the accounting field, which is in need of new graduates.”
Kemp affirms that although technical majors, like computer engineering and computer sciences, and those with business inclined degrees, such as accounting, are more in demand now; students have to remember that, generally, employers also look into graduates who exhibit a balance of experience (i.e. internships, volunteer work) with academic capability.
Kemp’s recommendations when looking for a job?
“[You] have to start early,” she said. “We all know the job market is tight, so, starting early will give you an advantage.”
A few years after the recession has hit the American fan, Professor Gary Charness of UCSB’s Economics Department, says that now that “the sky has stopped falling” and people are starting to leave their cautious and conservative shells. There’s a wafting sense that we can all slowly move forward again.
“The trend in the job market is positive, although it is not strong, firms are starting to hire once [again],” he said.
Putting the recession to the back of the brain is something helpful for employers and potential employees.
“People forget how bad it was a few years ago, so…I don’t feel hopeless about this situation. We’re definitely doing better right now than we did then,” adds Charness.
Perhaps the most important thing is to do something that you love, even if you do not get paid the amount you dream about. We sometimes forget that this is something we will have to do for days on end, thus we better love doing it.
And that is what Charness advises job-seeking UCSB students to do.
“Follow your dream. Things take time, yes. But, eventually, they will get better,” said Charness.
So, advance congratulatory greetings go out to all of you graduating seniors – a big chunky chapter of crazy Isla Vista nights is about to end, but know that your book has many more empty chapters waiting to be written.
“Don’t be discouraged by rejection. Keep [your] spirits up. You’ve gone so far already. With some friends, you can form an informal ‘job club.’ Together, you can stick to the process of resume-sending [and help each other],” said Kemp.
Career Services packed this quarter with advice workshops for seniors. To see which ones are left log onto www.career.ucsb.edu.