The Totally Rad Transitional Summer

At the beginning of the summer, I was fearing for my sanity. You see, jobs are hard (read: impossible) to come by for college-aged individuals, and matters only become more complicated when one really only has a month or two of good hard-working work time to potentially put in. Pretty soon after graduation I gave up on the fantasy that I’d be able to work this summer, and as that beautiful thought flittered off to become one with the dust in the wind, I began to wonder just what it is I should do with myself.

So then there were long hours of me pondering on life and the meaning of things, and what I was going to do now that I have a college degree in hand (but not really in hand because apparently it takes a very long time to properly print a college degree, much less actually mail it the 40 miles). If only it were a few decades ago, when a college degree meant what it was supposed to: you’re a genius and now everyone can see it and give you high-paying jobs. Unfortunately now there are no jobs anywhere, so everyone is sitting around in colleges hoping that by the time they have a diploma, jobs will have come back from their extended vacation.

Finally I gave up even thinking about it. I poured my time into beating old videogames I hadn’t played in ages, and then into filming a short film with friends that will hopefully turn out watchable, and then going on a road trip with my brother (see last seven entries). All of the above were fun. Always was the voice in the back of my mind saying that’s all grand but you’re always spending money, Jon, and just how do you intend to keep having a merry old time when you’re living far away and the parental unit no longer wishes to cover the bill?

It would be different if I’d gone into a career path that people desperately need. Computer science graduates are making a killing at the moment since now that everyone’s accepted the dominance of the computer they all want their things to be cutting-edge and beautiful. Any engineering major at least has specific areas to look into. What about an English major? Or, to be more specific, a Creative Writing major? Our areas of study are so broad and all-encompassing that they love to talk it up all throughout college, but when it comes down to it the generality is more of a cramp than a boon.

What’s always interested me about art is that you can talk about it with like-minded people and have the deepest, most meaningful conversations in the world, but once you take it out of that comfortable and sheltered environment, it seems worthless. Of course this is a highly arguable statement, but I just mean that if I tried to talk to my mechanic uncle about why Hemingway’s dialogue was so superb, he wouldn’t care at all. If I went into a job interview for Netflix or Safeway or Nike and tried to tell them that one of my big projects during college was writing a story about a deranged man trying to remake his father’s deranged movie, Cannibal Holocaust, and then proceed to tell them that it’s a really weird movie and why, they might wonder what college has been reduced to. Or at least the old grumpy men who run the above companies in my mind would react that way.

The point I’m trying to make is that I think that art is absolutely necessary and has a fairly good place in our society (though I still bemoan the status of the modern novel), but that the study of it and only it can be frowned upon out in the “real world” – that scary place that everyone acts like is completely different from anything that has ever come before for college grads. And maybe it is. But I think writing a good story, or at least being able to recognize a good story from a bad one, gets you somewhere both socially and mentally that technical writing or physics can’t necessarily do.

Whether or not it gets me to a place in which I can be hired is to be seen. It is nice, in a way, to be able to say that college is about more than being able to have a job right after, that it’s about growing and talking about Hemingway and writing stories and trying to understand something more about life based on the written word. Yeah, I know, an English grad would say that.


~ by Jonathan Forisha on July 3, 2011.

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