This past week, I toured the NPR studios with Bob Boilen of All Songs Considered. This was amazing for several reasons: First, Bob Boilen is a celebrity of sorts for music listeners and hearing his distinctive voice and seeing him in the flesh was surreal. Second, the NPR studios are mind-blowing, and their staff are rock stars. I was fortunate enough to watch a live taping of All Things Considered. While my love of NPR is firmly rooted in All Songs and music-related programming, watching the flawless execution of All Things was inspiring. The crew were cool as cucumbers and cruised through the show without blinking an eye. Meanwhile, my adrenaline was pumping as my eyes darted from the news personalities to the producer and his instructive gestures to the sound engineer pushing a hundred buttons.
I can't emphasize how important this tour was to me in my outlook on the future. In the past week and a half, I've gone from zero post-graduation plans to 5 months worth of employment. Massive sigh of relief. While this isn't the situation I had imagined for myself at age 21, I'm happy with it. In times like these, I forget what I really want. I tell myself that I'd rather get any job as long as it's full-time and pays. After the NPR tour, I realize that's a lie. I envy the security of jobs in consulting, for instance, but I know that I wouldn't enjoy it. Even if this NPR high only lasts a few weeks, I'm so glad I felt it.
I have struggled with blogging for the past two weeks, because I've only wanted to talk about my perceived worthlessness. I know no one wants to read that, so please endure this paragraph. I, like many of my fellow 2009 graduates, are feeling like everything we've done for the past 8 years is meaningless. Should we have just tried to join the US Postal Service after high school? Those are some enviable salaries... and I only wish that was sarcasm! I don't think anyone expects to literally be unemployable after 4 years of college, but this is what we face. This will be a fantastic story to tell in another 20 years after it's all worked out, but it's hard to see the hilarity when it's all still happening.
Places I've found inspiration through it all? Housemates and friends. Professors that know my name. Videos of babies hula-hooping. I can't put into words how meaningful it was for me to have a professor that expresses some level of caring about me as a student or, even better, as a person. It was almost shocking to me, but it has been a defining part of my undergrad experience.
I hope this didn't come off as some kind of plea for pity. I meant it more to paint a picture of the world that lies before those graduating this semester. Let us be poor. Let us complain. Let us be bushy-tailed and bright-eyed about our aspirations. If you find yourself losing hope, go on a tour of something. A brewery, a museum, a network station, anything! We're too young to give up already. One thing that you can expect of me in 20 years: I'm going to help the shit out of some poor, jobless college student. Hold on to your hats.