Opinion: Students can make their families proud without worrying about the future

As a college student, your entire life leads up to the moment you get your degree and obtain a “golden ticket” that will finally open the doors that lead to career opportunities. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of which doors will open and when.   

The fear of those doors never opening crosses the mind of students like me, but it's harder to shake the feelings when your entire family is looking at you to make them proud. 

When thinking rationally, I know that even if a job offer isn’t waiting for me right after graduation, I’ll be fine. I’ll just have to be patient. 

Any notions my family has about a college degree and education have been from what they’ve seen on TV: you go to college, get a degree, and the money and success immediately start pouring in. 

Television doesn’t really show the possible struggles after graduating from college. 

A 2019 University of Washington study found that it can take three to six months after graduation for students to find a job in their field. If only my family understood that their constant worrying — and mine — won’t have me employed any faster. 

I am a first-generation Mexican American college student, and by the end of the year, I will be the first in my family to have a bachelor’s degree. All my mom’s hard work and sacrifices set a foundation for me where I can build myself up and find success in a career that will make up for it all. 

Unfortunately, rational thinking isn’t continuous in my mind, and I fear that all these years of hard work would have been for nothing that my mom’s hard work was for nothing.

My mom and her siblings did not graduate from high school and have been working since their early teens. Although my aunts and uncles have been supportive of me throughout my college career, I still receive the occasional offer to simply drop out and get a practical job like some of my cousins. 

On a couple of occasions, I’ve tried to explain to them that I might not get a job offer in the science field right away, and if I do, there’s no guarantee that it will be a job that pays well. 

I don’t want my mom to be disheartened if she doesn’t see me leaving for a new job after graduation. 

A thought that has been running through my mind throughout the pandemic is that it’ll be even more difficult for me to get a job in my field once I graduate. With news outlets reporting that unemployment has been up over the past year, these thoughts get louder.

If I end up having job interviews, I’ll have the disadvantage of having to present myself as a great asset to a company over a video call, when physical presence is so important in this situation.

Sometimes I tell myself that I shouldn’t worry about what my family thinks, but I know very well that I can’t avoid it. With my entire family being so close-knit, everything I do is for them.

My successes are their successes, and my failures will be theirs, too. Thankfully, I’m feeling rational at this moment, and I will try to remain in this state of mind until the day I graduate. I’ll be OK.


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