There is a fact that our generation bemoans, dreads, and generally frets about—but has grudgingly accepted: the job market is just not the same as it was when our parents finished college. To the jaded millennial for whom the end of college is in sight, it seems as though our parents bounded out of their undergrad programs and straight into comfortable jobs with benefits. While this is probably not exactly what happened, they did have very different experiences, so at last Thursday’s colloquium it was reassuring to hear from three Witt grads, Katie Brown ’12, John Wing ’05, and Kelsey Swindler ’12, who are not much older than we are.
One of the frequent themes of last Thursday’s colloquium was the reassurance that there are jobs out there, and though they may not be exactly dream careers at the start, it is possible to gain experience and work up through the ranks. Brown told us that while contractual work may not be an end goal for several English majors, it is a good way to gain experience while you can still stay on your parents’ health care. This way, when you do get a chance to interview for something that feels like a career, you will have that mandatory experience that most college graduates do not have; you will not be left floundering. As someone who likes to plan out my entire life years before these plans are actually relevant, it was nice to hear someone tell me that it’s okay to take a step back if that plan hits a bump, and that there are more opportunities out there than I might initially consider.
So as I approach the upcoming holiday season, I will remember the advice of these three Witt alums. When a well-wishing, baby boomer relative responds to my choice of major with the all too familiar, “yeah, but what are you gonna do with that?” I will not balk. Although it might be a bit chaotic as the millennials coming out of college try to find our dream jobs, these English majors will land on their feet.
– Sophie Hulen ’17