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Photo Copyright -Jennifer Pendergast

He steps into the future, like walking through a waterfall. One moment, safe in the cocoon of higher education, the next, into the wide world of unemployment, hungry student loans, and too much competition for each job offering. The reality of an English degree but not a teaching certificate strikes hard. Where his Engineering friends are raking in the bucks, he’s facing a quick trip back to Mommy and Daddy’s house. Sometimes he wishes he’d never moved the tassel from one side to the other. Sometimes it’s as if he hadn’t.

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19 comments to Graduation

  • ha. well that is a hard reality for many…and we have to live with our choices as well….

  • Yes, that’s the way it goes, but it’s not new. One of my friends graduated Summa with an English degree in 1988 and her first post-graduation jobs were restaurant hostess and UPS box-tracker. If you don’t pay your dues by studying the dry, boring stuff, you’ll pay by having to claw your way up through crappy jobs.

    I tried circumventing the process by dropping out of college and “working my way up.” It was a mixed bag. I did better than my friends for awhile, but eventually found that I couldn’t get the plum jobs without a degree, in spite of my experience. The best jobs require a degree and experience, and if you don’t have them both, there’s plenty of others who do.

  • An all too familiar feeling… Which reminds me of a joke heard on Late Night with Seth Meyers last week —

    “A new study claims that 1 in 10 Americans no longer carry cash. They’re called English majors.” :-\

  • Sun

    love the tassle action you mention at the end – as if your character didn’t accomplish much except rack up debt and worries about finding a job. unfortunately for many, a quite realistic story.

  • That was a very true to life tale and very well told. You could feel his frustration, perhaps because so many of us writers ended up with a Liberal Arts degree and no career!

  • It’s a tough world nowadays. When I were a lad and recruiting for staff in business posts, my employer insisted I gave liberal arts and classics graduates priority as they were critical thinkers and more analytical. Experience and knowledge comes on the job. Nowadays it seems to be not like that.

  • Dear Alice,

    This is one of the best stories I’ve read this week. Concise and more truthful than some would care to admit. Just enough snark and circumstance to make me smile.



  • Dear Alice,

    I like this story very much. It is simple but true to life and was very well written. I particularly enjoyed the ‘walking through a waterfall’. Wonderful.



  • Very well done. Truth to the point of perfection.

  • Can identify with your story. We have such a deep bond that we can’t get over it… Nice one.

  • The simplicity of choosing what you want compared to what is needed.. hmm I did the engineering choice.. great story Alice

  • So very realistic. I sometimes wonder too what all those ‘media studies’ people are doing these days.

  • Excellent. It rings very true because it happens all the time. Very well done. Lucy

  • Sometimes reality is like a foreign country.

  • hungry student loans, What a great line! Well done.

  • P.S. Josh

    Alice, Good and realistic story. They desparately needed teachers when I graduated so many of us went right to work. A relative of mine majored in Home Ec but didn’t like her job so went back to get a teaching certificate. She worked as a teacher for years. I understand that there are writing jobs out there buy you have to really sell your ability. Well written. 🙂 —Susan

  • P.S. Joshi

    WordPress has messed up my name of late. It’s P.S. Joshi and used to be that in the system. I just noticed it was changed. 🙂 —Susan

  • It’s true for some degrees. But he might be a great writer in the future 😉

    Nicely done, Audrey

  • This is a good story of truth and troubles. Some lovely lines, like the tassel and the waterfall in particular. Good stuff.

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