Apr 09, 2020

Organizations’ short reach

Self-reliance learned through university programs’ shortcomings

He shook my hand, and, as we smiled for the camera, spoke to me out of the side of his mouth.

“See you next year.” A flashbulb popped, and the chair of my department winked at me as I walked across the stage in my cap and gown.

One short year ago, I had all the credentials to graduate with my bachelor’s.

But I felt that I wasn’t ready for the job market. I didn’t have the skills I needed to survive. So I waited to graduate until I had my second bachelor’s.

A year later, I am blowing the dust off of the gown that has been hanging in my closet since May 2008. I never expected to be here another full year. And I never anticipated, as a freshman, that I would become an institution at Fresno State. But after six years, I still find myself wondering how I’m going to manage “life on the outside.”

Sure, I could blame my anxiety on the economy I’m graduating into. I could blame myself, which, at the end of the day, is where all fault truly lies. But my main complaint is directed toward the university itself.

As touted as the career center, Richter Center and other student-involvement organizations are among officials, the truth of the matter is that they aren’t reaching the students. Ask your friends sometime if they’ve ever been to a resume workshop or know what the Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning is. Among mine, the response would be a blank stare.

It wasn’t until two years ago that I even knew the career center offered workshops.

In my profession, job applicants are expected to have portfolios and resume reels. I’ve had a single professor require a portfolio from his students.

And I keep getting e-mails about something called the “Senior Experience.” Apparently, it’s supposed to help prepare graduates for the real world. So far, I haven’t seen anything more than free coffee and donuts.

The up side to this lack of support—or perhaps just lack of marketing—is that if a student wants to know how to do something, he’s going to have to teach himself. I didn’t have the option of sitting in an office listening, zombie-like, to someone tell me what to do for my portfolio. I had to research it myself, which gave me a deeper understanding than someone talking at me ever would have.

And this May, when I walk across that stage and leave Fresno State behind me, I’ll take with me the lesson in self-reliance that I learned here.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, after all.

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