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