Mar 252004
 
Authors: Christiana Nelson

She takes customers’ orders with little assistance from her

bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Maya Garcia may have shed her CSU graduation cap and gown in May

2003, but since her college commencement she has had to waitress at

Macaroni Grill just to have a source of income.

“It’s definitely frustrating because you know you have so much

potential and you could be doing something better,” said the

22-year-old Garcia.

While she was in college, Garcia worked a high-paying office job

at the National Technological University, but when the office

relocated out of state she became a waitress.

“Being a server is getting real old,” she said. “Now that I’m

out of college I kind of feel like I went backwards; it is

weird.”

Garcia knows her dream of opening her own counseling center will

have to wait, but she has even had trouble finding an entry-level

position related to her college degree.

“I’ve gone online, to career fairs and I’ve had friends look

around for me,” she said. “It would be nice to get an entry-level

job to work up from.”

While Garcia does not know whether her employment struggle is

due to an economic recession, her particular job desires or a lack

of effort, there is one thing she does know – she has regrets.

“Internships are a big thing,” Garcia said. “It is something

that people don’t really realize. I didn’t realize it when I was in

school and I wasn’t really pushed to do an internship by my

advisers.

“It definitely leaves a big blank spot on your resume and

application.”

Amie Finlayson has been Garcia’s roommate since August 2003 and

said that while Garcia could put more effort into finding a job in

her career field, the economy makes it difficult.

“It seems like a lot of the time the employers will call back

and say that you need to have experience for an entry-level

position, but it is hard to get experience when no one will hire

you,” said Finlayson, a senior business manager.

Although Garcia is struggling to find employment pertaining to

her degree, her manager at Macaroni Grill, Lindsey Vaughn, said she

is a quality employee.

“She is always smiling and she does a very good job,” Vaughn

said. “She is a team player and a great asset to our team.”

After submitting six resumes to local businesses in the past

three months, Garcia said she might have to search for positions

outside Colorado and broaden her focus if she continues to lack

job-market success.

“I’m not being terribly specific with my job applications,”

Garcia said. “I’d like to get into youth organizations, but it is

definitely not my only option.”

Lucinda Van Inwagen, employer relations coordinator for the

Career Center, agreed that flexibility may help recent college

graduates.

“As I understand it, it is difficult for students in certain

career paths to find jobs because they need additional education,”

Van Inwagen said. “Sometimes it is best to find a spin-off of your

skills, understand what you want to do and try to broaden your

focus to see what your options are.”

Garcia said for now her alternative to work in the psychology

field is to further her education.

She plans to attend graduate school and complete her doctorate

in order to reach her career goals.

“Ultimately it will be worth it if I’m able to succeed in my

goal of having my own counseling center,” Garcia said. “It will

definitely be frustrating while I’m in school and my loans are

adding up to be three times what my undergraduate was and I’m not

seeing immediate results, but I’d rather be doing that than waiting

tables.”

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