Dear class of 2009……
Soon we end our journey as students, some of you already have a future employment waiting after graduation (congratulations I know you will do amazing things you lucky ducks).
Some of you (us) have no Idea what will happen next. No matter if you are a student studying Modern Art or a Molecular Biologist, if you are graduating this year, and don’t have a place of employment set, you are in a state of anxiety, and you are most likely not alone.
We are graduating in the worst possible time, where more people are getting laid off than employed. Where even hospitals and the food industry have to cut back, back on people and back on resources.
As I sit here, sweating and loosing sleep over my latest project just to be able to graduate. Long hours without sleep and having to constantly balance 100 of things to make my project and everyday life to function. I often forget that they might be in vain. That it might be years before I can hook that PhD project or even a job. Many of us are battling the final frontier of our way to, not only a career but also to be able to explore a personality we have built up inside. A personality we want to test out in the real world, beyond the school lab or the lecture hall. But we know, and are painfully aware of that we are heading towards a period in which all our hard work will feel like it has been in vain.
But we can not despair. Nothing can be in vain. Sure, we might have to put up with being unemployed, and sure it will influence both our mental and physical health. But it will never be in vain, because we have achieved something, and only that fact should keep us holding on.
I can only see darkness ahead, it is not easy to know you face unemployment but in the darkest of hours I will try to remember these facts. The facts that we as students have lived and concurred and can use in times of despair.
1) As a student, you are always poor, so the economy crisis and unemployment won’t feel like such a big deal, we have lived in that state for 3 to 5 years!
2) Saying “I am an academic” has always meant that you are unemployed, so people won’t feel sad for you, it’s implied.
3) You have all the time in the world to finish that pc-game you keep loosing while trying to write your assignments, now you can be a champ.
4) You have time to write a book, or apply to Idol, you have time to pursuit fame through reality soaps
5) You can travel (hitch rides along the way for money save), see what the heck you have been reading about the past few years.
6) Volunteer for Red Cross or Doctors without Borders. You have nothing better to do, might as well find some excitement in the jungle. Plus, we are already used to work for free!
7) Start your own company, or become a witch doctor and start your own clinic.
and how to make sure to protect yourself from depression
a) Get loads of appointments with a psychologist to cover the fall/spring.
b) Make sure to exercise, gets rid of anxiety and love handles. For bonus fun, get an exercise tape from the 90’s so you can laugh at the instructor at the same time
c) Remember that you are not alone, your self confidence (like mine) will be bruised but we are many and we will survive.
We all dream of a sense of security (even if the life of a scientists is more like the one of a movie producer, jumping from project to project, begging for money and respect). One day we might get it, and until then. We still have an important job to do.
Rule out, rule in, falsify and verify and hopefully make the world better along the way.