Self-reliance learned through university programsâ€™ shortcomings
He shook my hand, and, as we smiled for the camera, spoke to me out of the side of his mouth.
â€œSee you next year.â€ 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 bachelorâ€™s.
But I felt that I wasnâ€™t ready for the job market. I didnâ€™t have the skills I needed to survive. So I waited to graduate until I had my second bachelorâ€™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 Iâ€™m going to manage â€œlife on the outside.â€
Sure, I could blame my anxiety on the economy Iâ€™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 arenâ€™t reaching the students. Ask your friends sometime if theyâ€™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 wasnâ€™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. Iâ€™ve had a single professor require a portfolio from his students.
And I keep getting e-mails about something called the â€œSenior Experience.â€ Apparently, itâ€™s supposed to help prepare graduates for the real world. So far, I havenâ€™t seen anything more than free coffee and donuts.
The up side to this lack of supportâ€”or perhaps just lack of marketingâ€”is that if a student wants to know how to do something, heâ€™s going to have to teach himself. I didnâ€™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, Iâ€™ll take with me the lesson in self-reliance that I learned here.
Maybe thatâ€™s not such a bad thing, after all.