To be honest, I was trying to think of the way I could have best answered it. You wanted us to talk a bit about how we have used our English degrees since graduating, but I actually haven’t really been working in my field. For the past year and a half I’ve been working in Marymount Manhattan College’s Financial Aid office– not what I had planned. I’ve accepted, however, that it has been a good place for me to save some money, grow as a professional, and earn a little experience until I can either afford to go back to school for my Masters degree, or get a different position in a college that actually offers a Master’s degree (MMC does not) and reap the benefits of God’s greatest gift to humanity: Tuition Remission.
It’s easy to be a little embarrassed about the fact that I worked so hard in school, but have since used the skills I learned from the QC English Dept. for little more than writing emails regarding FAFSA applications. It’s probably why I didn’t respond right away when you sent your email. The end goal is still in mind though and, if anything, the advice I would give to student’s graduating now is that despite how smart you are and how great your grades are, just like an A in a class, your goals and dreams will never just fall into your lap; you still have to wade through quite a lot of muck to get there and some of the stepping stones are not terribly glamorous, have no windows in the basement office, and will have you sitting next to a coworker who refuses to stop offering you peanuts from their desk drawer everyday even though you have literally never once accepted their offer. Not that I know from experience or anything…
Anyway, I’d say impress upon students that this phase is normal and perfectly okay. We, more than any generation before us, were raised in such an efficient and instant world and we have grown to expect the same kind of efficiency from ourselves. We must remember, however, how young we are and that we still have so much time ahead of us to do the things we want to do. With hard work, the phase of people hearing what you do and saying, “oh, well its a stepping stone,” or “hey, its a foot in the door,” will pass and those goals will finally be reached. Hell, we might even get a window some day (seriously though, I’m not kidding about this no sunlight thing. I’ve developed a vitamin D deficiency which is apparently not uncommon for Financial Aid workers because those offices are usually located in the basement of schools. Seriously, how messed up is that?? I feel like I’ve officially completed the first step of my evolution into a dungeon lady). QC English Department seniors, keep your eye on the prize and know that it’s okay. It all going to be fine. Keep working hard and we’ll be basking in the sunlight in no time.