13 Stories From College Grads About The Struggles Of Unemployment

“I now work for the student loan company that I owe a small fortune to. Go figure.”

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their stories about graduating from college and grappling with unemployment and paying off student loans — specifically, what's the hardest part about being unemployed? Here are their powerful responses:

Right after graduation, my unpaid internship hired me for barely above minimum wage and I scrubbed toilets at my alma mater to supplement my income. I was so poor, even the government realized I didn't make enough to pay them back. I applied for jobs everywhere, even places that only required a high school diploma, only to be rejected and ignored. It was frustrating to have put in so much time, effort, and money — about $32,000 just in loans — into my college education and have nothing to show for it.
—Dee Lloyd (Facebook)

I've recently been diagnosed with depression and am now taking antidepressants to recover. The hardest thing for me is knowing that you put your heart, soul, sweat, tears, and even blood into trying become successful after college, only to hear things like “you lack experience” or “we decided on another candidate” from thousands of employers. I went through five surgeries while in college and nearly failed out due to the endless medical procedures, but after years of being on crutches and barely making it to class, I graduated and got my degree.

Since then, I've had only one job: graveyard shift at 24 Hour Fitness. Are my skills no good? Is there something wrong with my résumé? Are my cover letters poorly written? I spend days trying to figure out what the problem is. And the one time I do manage to get an interview out of 500 applications, I still don't get the job.

As a black man, I also can't help but wonder whether or not that influences the decisions not to hire me, not to mention I'm a muscularly built weight lifter. Are employers scared of the “big black man”? Do they feel threatened that a black man might come in and take their job? As hardworking as I am, I don't want to take anyone else's job. I don't want to scare anyone. I just want to help my mom buy her first house. I just want to help my siblings get through college. I just don't want to struggle anymore. And I truly hope my race isn't stopping me from accomplishing that.

When you've spent your whole life having to work hard and overcome struggles, you know that you have to be harder-working and more dedicated than others. You have to do more, fight more, endure more. But you do it, and you succeed. I just have to ask myself every day, how much more can I do? How much more can I fight? The demoralization from being told thousands of times that someone else is better than you, for every job you apply to, truly breaks you down at some point. I just want someone to finally think I'm good enough.

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