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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
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    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Despite graduation, the job market looms

A polar bear swims in open water on a desperate quest for food. Unless it finds land and food soon, it will certainly die. It finds land, and comes upon a colony of walrus. Walrus are bigger than polar bears’ typical prey, and they have tusks. Big tusks.

But times are desperate, so the polar bear must attack. In a struggle to abscond with one of the pups in the colony, a walrus tusk pierces the polar bear. The bear dies, the audience cries. I whisper to myself, ‘Damn you, global warming, damn you,’ as a single tear falls from my eye.

I have just recounted to you a most tragic moment from the movie ‘Earth,’ a nature film that takes much of its footage from the BBC series ‘Planet Earth.’ I would now like to draw your attention to a similarly tragic scene from campus job recruiting, a tradition that has provided Duke students with work after graduation for years.

A student walks into the Bryan Center on the campus of Duke University on a desperate quest for a job. Unless he finds a job soon, his parents will certainly cut off his credit card. He finds a potential employer, but in an industry that the student finds questionable, perhaps for moral reasons or simple preference. But times are desperate, so the student must apply. He gets an offer, but the offer is a figurative walrus tusk that stabs into his conscience. The student’s morals are compromised and his dreams of his ‘dream job’ are lost. You whisper to yourself, ‘Damn you, economic meltdown, damn you,’ as a single tear falls from your eye.

Seniors around the country are under a tremendous amount of pressure to find work. To say that the prospect of no income, no health insurance, a seemingly useless degree, loans that aren’t going to pay themselves off and an AeroBed in their parents’ basement is worrisome would be a gross understatement. ‘Xanax-requiring’ is a far better adjective to describe the feeling. This is not what Sarah Peters, tour guide, biology major and intramural tennis player promised us five years ago.

Like a frat party with too many guys and too few girls, the job market is competitive. Those in competition are willing to do anything to win. Padding resumes? Sure, being on the organization’s listserv makes me an active member. Kissing ass? You don’t want to know how far I am willing to go.

Once the resumes are padded and the asses kissed, a job is finally in sight. But the job market is barren, and those who look for shelter are willing to work anywhere to survive.

Selling death bonds? Oh yes, sir, I will personally see to it that our human commodity dies as quickly as possible to maximize profits. Part-time secretarial work? I’ll take it, at least I will have time to work on that novel. Selling assault weapons? You betcha, this gun could re-endanger the buffalo before you can say ‘well-regulated militia.’

The clock is ticking, and it is not the time to be picky in our job search. We may find ourselves pursuing work in fields that we in better times could have shunned. We may, God forgive us, have to pursue a job in investment banking or similar fields, like seal clubbing. Moral dilemmas aside, we may simply have to lower our standards to consider industries outside of our interest, jobs rather than careers or work for which we feel overqualified.

It may upset us, especially when we could not help but think that Duke would launch us to our dream jobs, but alas, here we are. We can try to stay true to our beliefs and find a job that excites us, but that is not necessarily an option in this climate. We can hope that this environment becomes hospitable again, but like the polar bear attacking a walrus, we cannot always do as we wish in desperate times.

Well, at least we have our health (until we can no longer be covered under our parents’ insurance). Damn you, 2010 graduation, damn you.

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