Coping with the Struggles of first Generation College Students

My parents were babies of the Baby Boomers. They both grew up during the sixties and seventies where everything let loose: sex, drugs, smoking, living, and music. I am the first in my family to be going to graduate school (except for my great aunt who did her master’s degree before I was born). I just finished my bachelor’s degree in English, and now I’m heading toward a master’s degree in Fine Arts/Writing/ English. It will get me where I want to go.

But, one of the struggles of being a first generation I-finished-college-and-am-going-further is that I have to go further than my parents or grandparents ever had to go in order to do what I want to do in the career I’ve chosen. Like someone told me a few years ago, if I want to succeed in any field, I have to have more education than the last generation. In my grandparents’ days, one could get a really decent job that paid all the bills right out of highschool. Same with my parents, but both of my parents have associate’s degrees. Now these days, if a young person (such as myself) wants to make something of herself, make a mark, I have to get a college education and then some. Also, it is recommended that a college student know what he or she wants to do in college so he or she can apply for internships or look for jobs that are in line of the field they want to embark on a career in.

I’m looking for jobs now while I attend graduate school, and I’m telling you, it’s a struggle for the mere fact that I don’t have the master’s degree yet, and I have really no experience. I don’t really know how to cope except to keep walking along. There are times I have to remind myself that I am indeed not useless, but looking for that job. It’s hard to be in the place of needing a job but being overqualified (as far as education goes) or not having enough experience in employment or education.

The parents understand our struggle to a point, but our generation is walking roads that the previous generations haven’t really taken the time to walk. I believe that more young people my age are going to college, getting an education, and contemplating graduate school just to live the kind of life and pay the kind of bills that our parents and grandparents did twenty to fifty years ago. Inflation and competition does have a way of raising the bar.

How do I cope? I keep looking up for a greater promise. I keep searching. I keep writing. I know that there is something out there, and I will not flounder if I keep swimming and treading water. If I have a passion for something, then that passion could end up saving my life. Being optimistic helps, too.