By Innes Herdan, Assistant Editor

As a junior at the University of Maine Farmington (UMF), I find myself wondering what am I going to do when I graduate. For most of my life, and I am sure for many others, there was this constant push to go to college and succeed. However, what is the after college?

          Most college students hope that they can start a successful career right after they graduate with that shiny new bachelor’s degree, but what is the reality? Are there even going to be jobs available when I, and my classmates, graduate and in our fields of study?

        According to The Atlantic, “about 1.5 million or 53.6 percent of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed” in the United States. That 1.5 million is a scary number; that is larger than the population of Maine. These startling statistics likely take the hope right out of nearly-grads. I’m sure that newly grads don’t want to move right back with their parents, frustrated and jobless.

     However, a person with a bachelor’s degree is qualified to apply for graduate school. Though graduate school can throw down an extra few thousand dollars on your hefty student loans, that extra diploma may make you a bit more qualified for those competitive jobs. The workforce often seems like a high school popularity contest, basing their hiring choices on which college graduate came from the most prestigious university.

   Though the options are available, I still find it difficult to decide which route to choose. Is it worth spending thousands of dollars of money that I don’t have to get a degree that many not end up benefiting me that much?

   This then leads me to think that if a master’s degree is what more employers are after when looking to hire for a well-paid position, then who says they won’t expect everyone applying to now hold PHD’s. It would appear that the employers’ standards are rising. Money is worth a significant amount these days and the employers won’t just give a salary to any bright-eyed college graduate.

   There is also the scary reality that positions may not be available when you graduate in the field you want to work in. In college, there is ample opportunity to study a plethora of interesting classes; the college tries to give students what they want in terms of classes and also extra-curricular activities. This all goes completely backward as soon a person steps in the big, bad, real world.

    Unlike the safety of elementary school, this real world is filled with competition and this unsettling feeling of failure. Luckily though, no one is alone in this process and there are plenty of college students that are willing to empathize. I guess the best I, and others, can do is try our absolute hardest to make our degrees and resumes stand out. Though that may not be an easy task, it really just depends on having a positive attitude and holding your head up high.