Assistant editor made extra long and arduous journey to graduation

After one of the toughest semesters of my life, my long college career has finally ended. It’s all over; the 30-hour workweek and a five-class workload is over — I am done. It’s been a long road for me to get here.

Not only was I determined to attend college, I wanted to graduate without a ton of debt. But that’s all I knew. I wasn’t born knowing exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up and, honestly, I still don’t.

When I was around 10 years old, I was sure I was going to become a ballerina, but then I saw “Indiana Jones” and quickly changed my mind — archeologist adventurer was the job for me. I was going to learn how to take a hit and learn a bunch of languages; then go out in the world, find cool shit and take it away from evil people.

After bragging about my career decision, someone broke the news that my plan was unrealistic. Shocked and amazed by this, my reality informant also advised me that archeologists don’t make a lot of money. WTF? I realized I was going about this all wrong. I didn’t even think of making money!

As I was putting the pieces of my life back together I remembered hearing that garbage collectors make a good salary. Perfect. Eight years of college — and a million mind changes later — I am graduating from a system that seems to be in the midst of turmoil and leaping into a profession that is just as unsure.

Newspapers may soon become completely extinct. Reporters are now required to cover more than one beat, working harder for less money. The quality of journalistic work may suffer because the beat reporter’s attention will be stretched over several subjects.

If one person is doing the job of three, something has got to give, regardless of technological help. With that said, less jobs are out there and many of the newly unemployed folks are heading back to school. Although the face of journalism is changing and the job market is less than friendly, I am glad to be out.

The future of higher education in California is becoming more of a gamble than the job market. Raised fees and cut courses may soon render this college into a bad business, and not a place that is “one of the most affordable university systems in the country … [offering] unlimited opportunities to help students achieve their goals.”

This will be a hard promise to keep if money continues to disappear from our budgets and available courses continue to be depleted. It just doesn’t look great for freshmen either. I know a few kids who have graduated high school, qualify for college acceptance, but have been denied because there are too many applicants and the schools cannot accommodate.

I have struggled to get to this point. I have worked hard and hardly slept, I fought to get into classes that I desperately needed and I studied until I could no longer see straight. It was a tough time getting here; supporting myself while at the same time trying to keep up with class work, takes a lot out of a person.

As I walk off this campus for the last time — grateful and proud of myself for my achievements — I cannot help but worry about the future of this campus and the students who occupy it.

It took me twice as long to graduate than I originally expected. Many bumps were on the road that was my college journey, but I have arrived. Now I just need to figure out where to go next.

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