Today I snapped. After forwarding my resume to countless employers to the point where it has become tedious, I finally went clean off. A human resource personnel emailed me back some spill about how my qualifications were not what they were looking for and “We are sorry we had to reject you for this position”. But that is not what pissed me off, what pissed me off was the fact that I had just submitted my resume to the employer at two am this morning and they sent me some rejection email at six am. So I emailed the human resource personnel asking them did they even look over my resume thoroughly? Or were they searching for key words? Then I asked the million dollar question that all college graduates seeking jobs in their degree field, would like to know or college students that are graduating in the next two months would like to know: How in the hell are we suppose to get experience in our degree field if nobody will hire us due to lack of experience?
African Americans have been taught since we were old enough to start school, that the only way we would become successful is we have a college education. I remember taking a class in middle school where the teacher told us that if we only had a high school diploma and no college degree, then we would wind up making only 19k per year which is barely enough to pay rent. During Black History Month we learned about first black educators of this college and that college, HBCU founders, first African American to receive a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate the list goes on. But why are we wasting years of school, hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain an education that we are barely getting hired for? Many African American college graduates are working in entry level jobs only making 25k per year but yet have a master’s degree in engineering. Makes me wanna holla. Does this contribute to mental illness in the black community? You damn right it does. A single mother is working a dead end job and has growing children to feed and the bills to pay while paying off a 45,000 dollar student loan debt for a degree in counseling she worked her ass off for late nights, early mornings, screaming children, ten page papers, deadlines, prayed for a C so she can graduate. A man who is currently renting a room to live in while working a fast food gig, searching for a job that will take a chance on him because even though he has an engineering degree, he does not have any paid experience in engineering. And I know what you are thinking people. What about internships? You and I both know internships are hard as hell to get especially when it comes to location.
Shit like this causes hopelessness, hopelessness causes low confidence, low confidence causes little voices to pop up in your head and say “You’re worthless” “You wasted thousands of dollars for a worthless degree”. Then you start believing it every single time you get a rejection email from a potential employer. Then depression sets in and boom, that is the beginning of a downward mental illness spiral. You have every right to feel hurt, angry, rejected and misunderstood. Especially being that you have spent thousands of dollars for an education that you thought you would get to cash in to. Do I feel rejected? Yes. Do I feel like I am worthless? Yes. But I know things will get better and we are not the only ones who are going through this. Demographic wise a lot of us did not come from silver spoons and trust funds. We have to work hard to get the least little bit that we have. It is understood when a black man turns to the bottle, after he gets his 200th job rejection email or letter and also comes home from an less than promising interview to an eviction notice tacked on his door. We understand that all too well. The problem is when we finally become successful we forget about the struggle.