Apr 072009
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

For those of you who remember me from my original stint here as a Collegian columnist, I can only say — hurry up and graduate. You’ll make me feel old. To the rest: hello.

I was a returning graduate who attended CSU from 2002 to 2006. When I graduated and went out into job market, my eyes were wide with ambition, my heart aflutter with promise, and all the while bluebirds built nests on my stovepipe hat. I was riding a wave of post-graduation optimism, and the world was my sweet, sweet oyster.

It was a magical time that lasted about three weeks.

Then a zany thing happened. As it turns out, I had spent all my money on college, and needed, in a rather immediate way, to eat.

“No problem,” I thought. “I’ll wave my degree in the air and a job will manifest before me, then on to riches, fame and the sweet joy of continued eating.”

I poked around the job market for a few months, looking for the right job for my skills and interests.

After a while, I found it: salad maintenance at a local restaurant. It was my job to take care of the lettuce and the bathrooms, though thankfully not at the same time.

Granted, I had envisioned something somewhat more spectacular, but the important thing was that, at my current salary, I would be done with student loans just in time to provide soylent petrol for a future-human’s flying space car.

Let me just put this out there at this point — I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. This degree is widely regarded as being very useful — provided the case it came in is very large, and you attach a pole to it, and it is raining.

This isn’t to say I didn’t find other jobs in the intervening time. I did.

I worked tech support at two separate locations due to the fact that I can locate the power button on most types of computers. Also, I can compose a 10-page dissertation in MLA style on why an object that is not plugged in is not, in fact, broken. But most of the time my employers only wanted it “fixed.”

And so after the Great American Layoffs of ’08, I have returned to CSU for two reasons.

Personally, I hope to get a degree that doesn’t also double as a punch line. Secondly, I hope to warn those of you who perhaps have niggling doubts about the usefulness of your degree that perhaps you should consider if the world really needs another person who knows all about the poetic structure of underwater basket weaving (as it relates to medieval London).

Actually, if you do know all about that, it sounds pretty sweet. Nuts to computer science. Underwater sounds like a good place to invest my education.

Johnathan Kastner is a senior undeclared physical and mathematical sciences interest. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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