Thomas Stotler graduated in May 2013, with a B.A. in Art from Humboldt State University. Since then he has moved to the Sacramento area, dabbled in web design, and currently works as a driver for a delivery service in Vacaville, California.
I’ll be the first to admit: I had unrealistic expectations of what to expect after graduating. I had studied graphic design, writing, and computer information systems in school, earning two minors and an Art degree. I was hoping to sail into the working world within a couple months after graduating, a full time graphic design position in hand and a full time salary to match.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.
For starters, I had never interned at a design company throughout the five years it took me to graduate, meaning no real experience for a career in my major. Sure I had a pretty decent school portfolio, but apparently it was not what companies were really looking for. Graphic design is a field which cares more about how much passion you put into a portfolio, rather than an actual Word Doc resume. So naturally, my first step ended up being an unpaid intern at a web development start-up.
I was still living off savings at this point (I have no student loan debt, and was able to save quite a bit from my Student Assistant job). So I took a second job as a medical courier, driving seven hour night shifts delivering medications to care homes within Northern and Central California. I was hard to manage between the two positions, since the courier job proved to be somewhat sporadic. Between this job working weekend night shifts, and the internship during week days, resetting my sleep pattern was difficult.
However, with an unpaid internship and only part time work, I was still living off of a good chunk of savings every month. The company I interned with did not have the resources to hire me on full time, but thankfully did hire me on a contract basis after the position ended. Between that and driving, I was able to make ends meet. My contract with them ended in June of 2014, and since then I have been driving much more to support myself.
The moral of the story is that life sometimes takes you on a different route than planned. Accept that the period after college can be as difficult and confusing as your time in college, sometimes more so.
It is a period in which you find what you really want to do, and sometimes that is very different than what you majored in. According to a May 2013 article by the Washington Post, only 27% of college graduates have a job related to their major. This is not to say a college degree is worthless: many jobs require a general college degree. It is something that shows that you have persistence. So follow your gut, regardless of where it may take you, and do what you are most naturally inclined towards doing.