The graduation ceremonies with all their pomp and circumstance have all ended. Young men and women who, only a few weeks ago, were focused on making the last heroic effort of marathon studying in order to pass the final exams of their college careers are now either working in their new career, beginning a summer vacation before heading off to graduate school or considering what they should do next. However, there is another group who is neither of these. I will call them the “left-overs”.
Typically, when we think of “left-overs”, we visualize food which we were not able to eat when it was most recently prepared and had to be put into plastic containers to save them for another day. And of course we tend to forget about them until we are cleaning out the refrigerator. Upon inspection, we determine that we will just throw them away for all kinds of reasons that we make up in our minds.
Our recently graduated “left-overs”, unlike food, are not put into plastic containers to be saved until the reason it was made happens. Rather, these graduates are exposed to the elements of life without benefit of protective containers. These elements of life come in the form of ambiguity, aimlessness and rejection. Ultimately, the confidence an education was supposed to give them erodes away and their opportunity to create a fulfilling career-life becomes more and more difficult.
Has the system failed them with the promise of meaningful work at graduation which does not happen? Specifically, has career services failed them by not finding the keys to fully engage them in the process of discovering what truly excites them and then developing a plan to get them connected with right industry, the right company and the right role? That’s for you determine. What can you do better or what resources do you need to allow you and your team to fulfill the dreams of students and their families? Let’s have a conversation together and find a sustainable solution together. Remember, “left-overs” are a terrible thing to waste.
Contributing Author: Melvin J. Scales