This is really just a selfish rant but I’m posting it anyway. 🙂
When I graduated college, I felt like I was staring into an abyss. Although I was graduating with a 4.0 in a double major with honors and awards, I had just been let go from my job and facing a move across country from the suburbs of Philadelphia to the Rio Grande Valley in the southernmost point of Texas.
I wasn’t moving there because I particularly wanted to but my apartment lease was up and I had no job so I did what so many college kids are doing, I moved back in with my parents.
However, I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia where I had just finished college, not South Texas. My parents had moved there while I was in college. I didn’t know anyone or anything about the region but I figured, hey, I just got a double major degree in English and History, I’ll be fine. A few months in my parents house and then I’ll have my own place.
It didn’t work out. I’m book smart, not very street smart and South Texas is not a very scholarly based region. It’s practical, its logical, its hardworking but it’s not “Let’s sit here and discuss varying interpretations of Joyce”. Most of the country isn’t, but down there, it’s forty five minutes on the highway to the closest book store.
I was prideful. I thought that since I had a college degree I deserved more than a Walmart job. My work experience was in childcare, retail and monitoring customer service at a bank but I viewed those all as stepping stone jobs. At that point I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just wanted a job that I felt was worthy of me. I was, and am, a privileged white kid.
The job never came. I told myself that’s because I was overqualified. I was looking for a job where people didn’t finish high school and had a double major. But in reality, I was under-qualifed, I didn’t have the necessary technical skills and I wasn’t bilingual. I wanted to get out, fast. I wanted to be back where I felt appreciated for my vast knowledge and intelligence (of pretty worthless things….)
So I started applying for grad schools. I was privileged enough to have had a full academic scholarship for undergrad so I didn’t put much thought into wracking up grad school loans. I was ahead of the game, ahead of those who had undergrad loans. I’d be fine. If the market was flooded by Bachelor’s degrees, I’d get a Master’s. Heck, I’d get two Master’s! So I enrolled in a dual-degree program studying Library Science/Archives and History.
No, its not a field that makes big money but it’s something that interests me and my ticket back to the East Coast.
Now here I am three years later, 6 months out of grad school, staring into an abyss again.
The world doesn’t owe me anything. In fact, it’s already given me more than I should have simply based on the color of my skin, birth place and socioeconomic class of my parents. Yet knowing that doesn’t take away much of the fear when I look down at my calculations for the zillioneth time and realize that I have more due in bills this month than I have money.
And I want to curse and yell at the sky because I feel like I’ve done everything right, done everything I was supposed to do. I’ve felt this way before, particularly when I stayed away from drugs, sex and alcohol as my church and parents told me and still was raped. I felt like I had kept up my half of the bargain, shouldn’t the universe keep up the other?
I never said I wanted to be rich. I knew when I chose the line of work that I did that I would never be, but I wanted to have a job. And yet somehow it eludes me. The less money I make, the more money I seem to require. The month I lost my last job I turned 26 as well – no more healthcare from my parents. And though I haven’t used it since, I have to pay 78 bucks of money I don’t really have in order to protect myself from bigger fees later. I almost decided to gamble with it and no pay that money and see if when the fines came around I would be employed again and have the cash, but I chickened out.
I had just moved into a new apartment, three hundred more dollars a month than what I was spending and suddenly I was making 400 dollars less. 6 months out from graduation and all the school loans suddenly become active. One can be deferred, but after 4 tries, they still can’t seem to get the proof of unemployment paperwork I’ve sent them. The other one can be put on forbearance but only if I pay a cash fee up front.
“Yes, we know you have no money. We would be happy to stall your payments, just pay us for that privilege.”
It’s as if they think I WANT to not pay them. My friends and I sit around and imagine winning the lottery if only to pay them off.
I have healthcare but not money enough for co-pays so my PTSD is going untreated at the moment anyway. I used to have meds and therapy for it, back when I had a job. Now I’m trying to get a job almost solely so I can have my meds back it seems.
And really, all this because I thought two more degrees would make me more employable. And of course the schools agree. They tell you that you can’t get a fulltime job in this field without a degree. Perhaps, but all that anyone is offering is part-time job and student internships but I am no longer a student and who is going to give a part-time job to someone who now holds two associate’s, a double major bachelor’s and two master’s.