Remaining hopeful despite job prospects
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05
In December of 2011, Newsweek’s The Daily Beast released a list of the 20 most useless degrees and named journalism as number one. The list was compiled by looking at average income growth and projected change in the number of jobs from 2008 to 2018.
About eight months later, the University of Georgia conducted a survey and found that the number of communication and journalism jobs has seen a moderate increase in the number of graduates who have found full-time employment within six to eight weeks of graduation.
It’s a small hope, but it is one I’m clinging to with all my might.
As a journalist, risks are involved in almost every decision one makes, from deciding which story should run on the front page, to deciding whether or not to continue pursuing a degree many would deem useless.
Obviously, I chose to take the risk and pursue the degree. I did not make that decision lightly, of course, and believe it or not, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I chose the right path.
Journalism is the perfect career for me; it’s the perfect blend of every career I’ve ever wanted to pursue since my early childhood. It is a mixture of the writer I wanted to be in elementary school, the documentary filmmaker, the humanitarian aid worker, the next Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel and the anthropologist I wanted to be in high school.
Based on the jobs I listed above, it’s obvious that I never planned on making a lot of money, which is honestly fine by me. I may sound like a naïve college student, but I’ve never had a lot of money growing up, so being tight with cash the rest of my life is something I know I can learn to manage.
Of course, that is always easier said than done when you’re dealing with thousands of dollars worth of debt. I’ll be honest, when I first read the stories that are being published in this Career Issue, I got a nervous feeling in my stomach.
All of these questions started entering my mind. What if I’m wasting my time? What if all of the long hours, hard work and dedication I’ve put into this is for nothing? And the scariest questions of all: What if I’m ruining myself financially? What if, because of all of my debt, I won’t ever be able to afford to have a child? And what if I never live up to my potential because I can’t catch a break in the world?
I thought of my family and how they all struggled throughout their lives (even going to the extreme of immigrating to an entirely different country that did not want them) so that I could have a better chance at making it in the world.
I thought of their lectures throughout my life about how I should go into medicine, that way I’d have a stable career and I won’t have to scrape by the way they did.
But then I thought about how they all worked long hours in jobs that they hated in order for me to be happy. What makes me happy is learning about people, learning about culture and society. Learning about politics and history, and about how everyone in the world is connected in a giant tangled web of both positive and negative current events.
Most of all, learning about all of this and witnessing it first hand through this amazing job I have as a journalist is what I love more than anything.
The long hours, the stress, the pressure is all worth it to me because I know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to be doing.
Then I thought back about everything I’ve accomplished at my age and I realized that I actually do stand a fighting chance, and that’s all the hope I need.
Jasmine Aguilera may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.