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My Turn: A college degree, but still no job

I walked up the stairs with wobbly legs and reached out my hand as the dean presented me my college diploma. I continued across the stage, proud and apprehensive. I was now a college graduate. I got a Plymouth State Alumni pin, took pictures with friends and said goodbye to my professors. I held my head high; I felt proud of my achievements and those of my peers. I got in my car to head home and thought to myself: What now? I knew I was set out to do something great.

I have been out of college since May with a BA in English, Writing. Four months later and nearly 100 applications sent, I don’t have a career job or a steady income. What is left is a major loss of confidence.

What is all the hype about finishing college if I can’t even put my talents to work? I think about this daily. My day-to-day routine is this: I wake up, watch the morning news and then get straight to work on the job search. I set a goal for myself: I will apply to at least five jobs a day on average, sometimes even more. I have been following this routine for months. When I’m on a job website, I hit the refresh button on my Google tool bar and see the same jobs – that’s how much I’m looking for work. The jobs won’t load fast enough.

When I find a job I really like and meet the requirements, I edit my resume and cover letter and – BAM – I hold my breath, cross my fingers and toes, and send out my information, only to never hear back from the jobs I apply for.

Some job applications say to call them, some say to email them, and some say not to follow up with a call at all. Applying for jobs is more brutal then Mario and Luigi fighting their way to defeat Bowser. There seems to be no rhyme or reason when applying to these jobs.

If this is the way it is going to be, I sometimes wonder why I even walked across the stage to get my degree. I’m not the only one who has been doomed by the job game. Other college grads across the country have been struggling with the same concerns. We spend all this money for an education and then have nowhere to use it.

The difficulty in finding jobs does not stop at my generation. My mom this summer applied for numerous internships, went on a three-hour job interview and never heard from the company again. My neighbor, a middle-aged man, was laid off because of age discrimination.

Employers need to know that we work tirelessly to find jobs but feel disparaged. It’s not because we are lazy or because we don’t want a job. We are becoming weak from the nonsense of the job game. We are sick of putting effort into applying for jobs and never hearing anything from them. We are tired from what employers think they can put us through because they know there is a job shortage. We have great potential and will not give up. We will push, fight and claw our way up to the top.

(Alyssa Marie Caruana lives in Bedford. She can be reached at

Legacy Comments16

Alyssa, I graduated from UNH into the Coos County economy years ago. The economy down here now is rather like Coos County's has always been. Unemployment was 10 percent in my county when I graduated. My eventual boss described the Great Depression as "just more of the same. It was nice to have company." I decided that if I had to take a job stuffing envelopes that I'd be the best envelope stuffer I could be. I got a job working the night shift at an incredibly dirty nursing home (now closed). My coworkers mostly had dropped out of school in 10th grade. I did wonder often what all that time and money spent in Durham was all about. I finally got my first "real" job in February and loved it. It will happen to you, too. I do advise you to get a job flipping burgers, stuffing envelopes--anything. It will keep you in fighting trim and demonstrate initiative. No one is unemployed for all their life, just keep moving forward. Best wishes.

I forgot to mention that my seemingly unrelated, unskilled (at that time) job lead directly to my getting my first job in my career field. I got an excellent reference from the head nurse which my supervisor later told me was why she hired me.

I'm glad I'm not a recent college grad--they have a tough slog ahead. Most have huge loan payments and no job--at least not a decent job. They are going to have to take whatever job they can find and get SOME kind of work experience--even if it's not in their field. Of all the jobs being advertised, I'd say for a third, someone already has the inside track through a friend or colleague. For another third, the company isn't even hiring just yet, they just want to see who's available in case they land a big contract. That leaves maybe a third for everyone else to fight over and there is ALWAYS someone with more experience willing to take a cut in pay these days. It's really tough out there. I would suggest that new grads look outside NH. NH has a fairly low unemployment rate but there's just nothing going on around here. So much more work in Boston, NY or other big cities. New grads also have to differentiate themselves from all other applicants. Just sending out resumes over the net doesn't cut it. Call the company and ask for the hiring mngr. Better yet, go there in person and ask to talk to someone and hand them a resume. Network with friends, professors, your parents' friends, anybody. Every slammed door is one door closer to a job. My first engineering job out of college was for $9/hr. But it got my foot in the door.

Reagan ought to be known as the 2nd great borrower. He held the championship title until George W. took over. The economy looked pretty healthy under Reagan, though in truth it was a facade. Back then many sane experts in economics were warning us all about the record-setting borrowing. Or rather trying to. It is awfully shallow to place the blame at Obama's feet. The man has tried again and again to get things going, tried to work with the Congress, but the Republican Congress has made it their mission to vote against everything Obama has tried to create. A few hours after dawn of the first day Obama was our President-elect, the big GOP power names said during television interviews that they planned on a strategy of voting against everything Obama proposed. This is the truth of the matter. The majority of citizens/voters in the US know this. Better so now than they did a couple of years ago. The midterm election result is unlikely to make any of you obsessed anti-Obamites happy. Obama's approval rating might be dropping some, but there is no comparison to the record low approval numbers the GOP controlled Congress is generating. Those pesky ratings that have been lower than a snake's belly for over a year now. I am enjoying watching the GOP of today self destruct. Sleep well tonight! :0)

time to do a fact check on that whopper of an OPINION because the Facts dont support it.

Van, at least I provide links. Here is one that backs my view that Reagan is most likely spinning in his grave over today's GOP. ------------ http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2012/08/16/reagan-era-conservatives-reject-economics-of-todays-gop US News is not a left wing source my any stretch of the definition.

Well, I looked at your link. Here is what I have to report on that. Did you read that article in its entirety? "As a nation, just as for a household, economic success requires that we live within our means, and not take what we can't or won't pay for. If we're going to cut taxes, we have to be willing to cut government services," I agree, cut taxes and government services starting with all of the fluffy, repetitive programs as reported by the GAO. "Companies must live or die according to their effectiveness in the market, without exception. That's why true conservatives oppose letting companies hide behind legislation to avoid competition and insulate themselves from failure"....again I agree. But Obama was the one who bailed out GM and then invested in Solyndra and a dozen other failed green energy companies including Fisker. "Regulations are acceptable when needed to enforce market discipline. True conservatives prefer not to regulate business at all—but they recognize that sometimes regulations like Glass-Steagall are needed to prevent failed businesses from dumping losses on taxpayers", again I agree but over the top regulation is what conservatives are talking about. Crony Capitalism and investment in political cronies is the trademark of the Obama years. So not sure what your point is but if your link is what you are talking about, most conservatives would agree with it.

Welcome to the Obama Economy - as all economists will tell you - the absolute worst economic recovery - EVER

This is not unusual. I graduated during the second worse economic downturn, the Carter economy and struggled for over a year to find a start to my career. This economy is much, much worse. I have a daughter who just graduated and she is still looking for a start to her career. She's in the same boat but took a waitressing job and continues to look. You are not alone Alyssa. I see the issue more clearly and understand a couple of things which you may not. A college degree is a piece of paper and it signifies that you have learned many things but have not put those things into practice. Your major is a good one but the call for people in English and "writing" is certainly not in demand, you may have to do something else and moonlight while pursuing your passion. I have lived over 50 years and this is perhaps the worst economy in my lifetime and it has been going on for nearly 5 years now. Our political leaders have not done anything to improve it. Ideologues refuse to harvest our natural resources like oil and our government has spent us into oblivion. It may well become worse before it becomes better. Employers are going to hire "experienced" people because the market allows them to do that. If the economy was robust, you would have your choice of jobs. I also think that you should look nationwide and not just in a specific geographic area, to be honest, my daughter does not want to do this but is slowly expanding her radius and her mind in trying to find a position. Hang in there Alyssa, it will happen for you but from experience, it will take some time.

You can thank Obama for your lack of job because Obama is focused like a laser on playing golf or playing partisan politics. Thank goodness Ronald Reagan was president when I got out of college. Obama's new normal is high unemployment and low paying jobs. We can all thank the low information voter who voted for Obama for that.

Yes Van, l thank god Reagan was president when I got out of college too. Now that his Trickle Down Economics and Bush's NAFTA have proven to be a failure for the middle class - well, we already got ours so screw the rest of them.

Reagan Economics is a success story by any known matrix except in the eyes of extreme leftists who policies bring the down fall of America aka Obama.

Again, peel away the smokescreen and just how did you arrive at your notion that Reaganomics was a success. Reaganomics was at the root of the decline of our economy. Our economy took 20+ years to get to the point it imploded. Much like a balloon, it kept expanding and expanding and we all know what happens it will eventually pop. Bush didn't destroy it but did nothing to prevent it, Obama was never in power long enough before the bubble burst. To say otherwise is not something a low information voter would do, it takes a NO information voter for that. Years of greed and arrogance were the downfall not Obama. What were we supposed to do, give tax breaks to the rich so they would trickle down on the rest of us. Check the data, the richest people in the country control more money now than any time since 1920. So much for needing a rich, business friendly politician. They do fine without politicians, the rules really don't apply to them, liberal or conservative.

NAFTA was signed by Clinton

It was 100% Bush's plan. It was conceived, written, and approved before Clinton took office. He officially signed it a couple days after taking office.

Clinton, while signing the NAFTA bill, stated that "NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't support this agreement."

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