This post is part of the Student Experience series, which features current and former archives students as they reflect on graduate school, internships, and early career issues. If you would like to contribute a post for this series, please email me.
Guest poster Gayle Schechter is a recent graduate of Simmons College, and discusses graduating and the challenges with entering the job market and staying positive.
Congratulations class of 2017, we made it! We finished the hundreds of pages of reading and writing every week, group projects, internships, sleepless nights, juggling school with work, families, and an attempt at a social life, and came out on the other side (hopefully) unscathed. Finishing my master’s degree is one of my proudest accomplishments to date, and my time at Simmons introduced me to inspiring professors, internship supervisors, and a group of new librarians, archivists, and other information professionals whom I can’t wait to see do amazing work.
So, you’ve graduated, now what?
That seems to be the perpetual question I’m asking myself lately. Like most people, I figured, “finish grad school, get full-time job,” but, as many of us have discovered, it’s not always so simple. While I’m happy for my peers who have managed to fulfill that goal already, I’m sure most of us can relate to the pangs of jealousy that come up when it seems to come so easily to others while we’re trying to string together multiple part-time jobs to pay the bills while we’re applying to full-time jobs. It can be frustrating to fill out endless applications (the kind where you submit a resumé, then enter all the information from your resume into the next page can seem particularly cruel), patiently wait to hear anything, only to get a rejection email, if any notice at all. Or maybe you’ve had a few interviews, and they seemed to go well, but still, no luck.
So, how does one stay positive while wading through what can feel like an endless sea of rejection? How do you keep in mind the advice one of my professors has given me, that it’s not personal, when losing out on what you think is a dream job can feel incredibly personal? I’ll admit, some days it gets the better of me.
It helps to know that I’m not the only one going through this. My struggles to find a full-time job are no different than many of the people I’ve graduated with. Knowing that the amazing and talented friends I’ve made at Simmons are going through the same difficulties in finding full-time work as I am reminds me that when hiring committees are making these decisions it’s clearly not personal, or else we’d have all been hired by now.
Something they don’t teach you in grad school is that the hiring process for most positions in our field can be long, stretching out over several months. While keeping patient when on the job hunt can be difficult, that elusive interview and job offer may be just around the corner. While sometimes it feels like I’m never going to make it around that corner, I’ve been fortunate to have an advisor, professors, and supervisors who have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. It’s important to remind myself that if they think so highly of my abilities, eventually I’ll come across an employer who agrees.
To my fellow 2017 graduates who have already landed that first dream job, congratulations! You’ve worked hard and it’s inspiring to see you reaching your goals. For those of you who are still searching, know that you’re not alone out there. Life after graduation can be frustrating and full of anxiety, but we’ve already conquered grad school. I have no doubt we’ll conquer the world, too.
Gayle Schechter graduated from Simmons College in Boston, MA in May 2017. She currently works as an Archives Assistant at Fenway High School, Library Assistant at Bay State College, and Digital Projects Intern at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She is also the 2016-2017 intern for SAA’s Women Archivists Section (WArS).