Not to graduate...Just yet


As I was approaching my final year in college a few months ago, I was frantic to find out how the job market was in my concentration. I finished my B.A in Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcast and walked across the stage on May 15, 2010--BUT then made a big decision later that night. I decided not to graduate just yet.

Taking matters into my own hands, I chose to continue on for one last year at Columbia College Chicago. I didn't have a chance to finish my minor in Photography due to my massive class load and my job at the school's  newspaper, The Columbia Chronicle, where I produce weekly news packages.

I thought it was a perfect time for me to finish my minor and not face reality just yet. Professors would scare us in classes talking about how  there was no jobs in journalism and how there was no diversity in the  newsroom. So I put my career on hold. I have one more year left to decide  how I am going to face the journalism job market. In my research I found an article on Mother Jones website. According to the story, the AP announced  a new position of "Race/Ethnicity/Demographics editor." It's quite  interesting they are making their newsrooms more diverse by adding this  new job. I know they are are trying their best in hiring more diverse people,  but they are not hiring recent college students. This is my problem.

Going through job sites like Mediabistro, JournalismJobs, and clicking on careers on every possible news site in the very bottom of their page, I can't find no one hiring recent college grads. They want veterans or people already working in their industry with two-to five-years of experience in the area.

But then I see this: Since print journalism is dying and going to the web, newsrooms are looking for tech savvy journalists who have multimedia skills. The old folks who have been writing print news articles might not have this ability of shooting video/photos, editing audio, posting on Facebook and Twitter or writing this blog. Bob Dylan's song fits perfect in this situation, 'The Times They Are A-Changin'. This revives my hopes of finding a job. I prepared myself to learn this while at school and another reason why I stayed in college to study photography. I wanted to gain more skills and be prepared to face reality.

Those "two-to five years experience required" doesn't scare me. I'm still going to apply and all you college students should too. I suggest to seniors and recent college grads to take that extra class if you have to and to network with every person in your field you encounter and get involved in local and national organizations in your field. Holding back my graduation was the best decision I ever made even though I will be more in debt.  I feel more confident now and not too stressed. Who knows where I would have been if I did graduate that May. Although I am in a safe zone, I'm doing all I can to get ready when I walk that stage again and this time for good.


--Cristina Aguirre