Margaret Scott – Newsart

As I approach my final quarters here at Cal Poly, the question of “What’s next?” has crossed my mind multiple times.

I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering what is in store for me in the future? Where do I go from here? Can I get a job? Has all of my hard work paid off?

As we head toward the end of our college careers, it is only natural to be nervous and worried about what to do once we graduate.

Gone are the days when a four year degree was exceptional and special, when resumés were just a page long, internships were rare and jobs were easy to come by. Now, in our fast-paced society, standards have definitely gone up.

A four year degree is no longer an uncommon accomplishment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely an achievement, but these days it seems to serve the bare minimum. During current times, not only are students expected to receive a four year degree, but they are also encouraged to attend graduate school.

It is almost unheard of now for a student to not continue on and specialize in a specific area in order to distinguish themselves from everyone else. As students enter the work force, they need to stand out and with a bachelor’s degree as common as a high school diploma, it’s getting harder to do.

Along with graduate school becoming somewhat expected of students so have lengthy, high-tech resumes. A single-page, printed out resume is no longer considered a good representation of oneself.

There are now resumes consisting of multiple pages of prestigious accomplishments; not to mention ePortfolios, LinkedIn profiles and other extensive online representation of achievements. I don’t know about other students, but this to me is very overwhelming.

In addition, I’m expected to be technologically savvy as well with my own personal webpage. With all of the competition for jobs and internships, it is almost a students’ priority to try and “one-up” everyone else. How can I stand out as an individual in my field, and in my life?

But sometimes even having an internship isn’t enough. It appears as though some students are starting to get their first internships in their freshman year — competition is fierce and it is apparent going above and beyond is necessary.

Not only has competition in the job market become more intense due to rising expectations from the work force, but in this current economic state, good jobs are few and far between.

Companies are cutting positions and tacking on more responsibilities to other areas. It has become a necessity for students to become skilled in multiple tasks because jobs are not nearly as specific anymore.

For example, as a journalism student concentrating in news editorial, it is not enough for me to simply know how to write a good story. I need to know how to write, how to shoot and edit video, how to write for the Web, how to blog, how to write a press release and how to be my own photographer. Needless to say, it isn’t easy.

In the current times the bare minimum won’t cut it, unless you want a less career based job. Universities have raised admissions standards, professors have raised their class requirements, departments have increased graduation requirements and employers have definitely upped their criterion.

We are in difficult times right now, which is why it is important to be very prestigious. It is no wonder that students are under immense stress and don’t know what to do with their lives. How much is enough?

Marisa Bloch is a journalism senior.

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