“Sour Seniors Should See Sunny Side”

“Sour Seniors Should See Sunny Side” is a column I wrote for The Arizona Daily Wildcat on October 22, 2010. Can be found here.

It’s senior year of college. It’s the graduation you have been waiting for, working for, yearning for. Everyone is waiting on the sidelines, cheering you on, waiting to see what you will do after this great milestone achievement is in your rear view. There is a big bright world awaiting you with open arms. Or that is how it was described to us, at least.

Senior year might be the most anti-climactic event to happen in our lives. I feel like every five steps I take, someone is waiting to ask me what is next for me. I am ecstatic for those who have everything figured out, whether that be Grandma’s couch for a year or a legitimate job offer. However, the reality for the rest of us is that we now have the next seven months to arrange our life’s trajectory. It is a daunting task that seems to rain on the emotional exuberance we thought would come on the day of our collegiate graduation.

Instead of the happy day of celebration we hope for, it seems more than likely to be a day of dread, thinking of the impending task ahead. We look toward an economy that is the worst our country has seen since the Great Depression, which makes finding a job sound like that old saying Grandpa used to use about finding a needle in a haystack. As a result of the job market, graduate school admissions offices are experiencing unprecedented influxes of applications, making it harder than ever to stay in school in the hopes of weathering the economic storm while increasing our employability.

Those summer internships we were supposed to find to improve our attractiveness to employers were more competitive than ever as well, with unemployed mid-level managers with several years’ work experience in the running with us.

What are we to do?

It is easy to pout and become dejected with your life’s outlook after you put in so much work and showed so much dedication, to look out into the dark abysmal opportunities the “real world” presents us. Rather, we can see this as yet another challenge for our generation. The baby boomer generation did not have this type of adversity to fight through. Instead, they were faced with the tail-end of the Cold War, Vietnam, and the sexual revolution. Whereas, the generation before them fought through the Great Depression and one, if not two, world wars. I like to look at this cloudy forecast and see it as the time of character-building opportunity. We, as a generation, have a great deal to fix and work through. Let us push forward with determination, integrity and resolve. The restoration of this country to the global leader we have been in the past lies on our shoulders and it begins with you.

– Tyler Quillin is a senior majoring in philosophy and English. He is also the academic affairs executive director for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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