“In college I was looking forward to becoming an adult, and now here I am and it’s terrible.” Seventeen 2023 graduates show and tell us how they feel about entering the workforce.
Julia Rothman And
Julia is a painter. Shaina is a writer and film producer.
There’s good news for recent college graduates: The labor market is strong, unemployment is low and, accordingly a survey By the National Association of Colleges and Employers, businesses are expected to hire about 4 percent more graduates from the Class of 2023 than the previous class.
bad news? For most of them, all four years of college got ruined due to the global pandemic, and now they have to transition from student life to the world of work. Which is never easy. We interviewed 17 graduates from a variety of key regions and parts of the country about how they feel about entering the workforce.
Layla Flowers, University of Denver:
“I am feeling the pressure of the world right now. It feels like everything must have a meaning because everything seems urgent. There’s a lot of emphasis on, ‘Am I doing something for the world?'”
Hannah Bradford, Fordham University:
“I am applying for editorial assistant jobs. I want to become a writer working in a magazine. ChatGPT scares me – it entered the college world towards the end of my time in college. I had some friends who used it to write papers. It’s really hard to imagine what a career in journalism will look like in 10 years.
Chris Lawrence, Emory University:
“I am with Teach for America. We are getting ready to be placed in Title 1 schools to address the opportunity gap and change the trajectories of children in those schools. I went to a Title 1 school; This was very little income. My teachers did everything in their power to make sure we got what we needed. Of course, it’s going to be stressful. But it’s going to be beneficial.”
Roberto Bellman, Appalachian State University:
“Getting a college degree was really important to me. I wanted to increase the number of Latinos graduating from college. I didn’t just do it for myself, I did it for my community. I am also of the first generation.
Sean Oh, Rutgers University:
“With all the news we have seen in the banking sector, many of my friends and I were nervous about getting a job. We were worried that we might see a repeat of 2008. After interning at a company last summer, I got a full-time offer. I bought some work clothes because I couldn’t wear my Rutgers T-shirt to the office.”
Weston Del Signore, University of Southern California:
“I work as an assistant with a local artist and then do Postmates and Uber Eats to make ends meet. In the case of art, a lot of it has to do with the people you know.”
Rocio Perez Gonzalez, University of Texas:
“I have an internship. I’m hoping it becomes a job, but they fired some people. I can’t go back home and live with my family because I don’t have good communication with them. I have to find a job and then find housing. In college I was looking forward to becoming an adult, and now here I am and it’s awful. But I can figure it out. A year ago, I was in a completely different situation than I am now. A year from now, everything will be different.
Vanessa Khong, Northern Kentucky University:
“I am currently looking into UGC – User-Generated Content creation. You create content for brands and they put it on their social media pages. A brand will send you their product and you will create an unboxing video or tried-and-tested video. Many UGC creators start earning $150 for a 30 second video.
Alyssa Gutierrez, University at Albany, SUNY:
“I accepted a job where I work with asylum-seeking migrants. Before I got this job, I lived in a bubble. I didn’t know there was an influx of immigrants. I jumped blindly. When you’re in school for social work, you’re taught the basics. But there are many aspects of social work that you have to learn as you go along.”
Sarah Wexler, Temple University:
“I’ve been trying to get a full-time job, which has been a whirlwind. I have applied for over 50 jobs. I did a fair number of internships in college so that wouldn’t happen, but it still happens.
Anjan Mani, Cornell University:
“I have a job working in finance. I did an internship and at the end of that I got a full time offer. Most start dates are in July, August or September. But in this economic climate, many of my friends’ companies have decided that full-time offers will start later. I’m one of the few people in my friend group who is starting in the summer.
Tyreek McDole, Oberlin College:
“When I was new, it was the beginning of the pandemic and everything was shut down. The last thing anyone needed was a jazz singer at their local restaurant. This is the stereotype about the starving artist. But I refuse to believe it.
Alessandra Venema, Skidmore College:
“I work for the Federal Department of Transportation. In college you’re constantly having interesting conversations and feeling inspired. When you first go into the workforce, you feel energized and ready for change. I hope to remain in places where it can be maintained.
Greta Garshhagen, Hamilton College:
“I am doing a six-month apprenticeship at a restaurant-slash-educational centre. Food is a major contributor to climate change. I think small scale farming can be a solution. I grew up with this inexplicable fear of being told, ‘Your generation is going to fix the world.’ That puts a lot of pressure on us.”