A Tale of Two NJ College Roommates: Few Grads Lucky to Find Jobs
WEST LONG BRANCH — Monmouth University senior Brooke Obenauer has a triple major in the field of education, and she's spent countless hours in the classroom to achieve her student teaching requirements. But she knows none of that comes with the guarantee of a job on the other side of graduation.
Obenauer, 21, just wrapped up her last set of finals, and she'll receive her diploma on May 13, but she's already frustrated over the job search.
"Currently I've applied to 29 school districts, 117 job positions, and I'm just waiting," she said. "I fill out like four applications a day."
It's even a waiting game for Obenauer in the Toms River school district, where she was a student teacher. That still doesn't guarantee even an interview in the district.
"I'll go anywhere. Anywhere they need me, anywhere that I could help the kids, I'll go," she said.
Obenauer's difficulties are common for the young class of 2016. A report released in April by the Economic Policy Institute said job prospects for college graduates today are "significantly worse than they would be if the economy were truly healthy."
The report also pointed to an increase in the number of graduates settling for jobs that do not require a college degree.
And while Obenauer recognizes she's most likely ahead in the job-hunting game when compared to most of her peers, there's an extra source of motivation staring her in the face each day on campus.
Her roommate and best friend, Graziella Ruffa, accepted a job offer on Wednesday — one of two offers she was fielding.
Ruffa, a marketing major and graphic design minor, can begin with the ad agency in Somerville today if she wanted to, but she'll wait until after her official graduation from Monmouth.
"It's a starting point, which I was looking for," Ruffa said.
According to Ruffa, 22, working at the dean's office for the past four years has helped leverage her career and prepared her to present herself in front of Fortune 500 companies.
"It's all about perception, so the better people perceive you, the better you're going to do," she said.
It wasn't immediate success for Ruffa, however. She, too, dealt with bouts of frustration during the application process, calling her parents each day, wondering when or if she'd hear from any prospective employers.
"Everybody has their own timetable," she added. "If I was an education major, I'd be in the same position as (Brooke)."
Obenauer noted she's happy for her best friend's success, but it does have her more anxious for the arrival of July when most districts begin sorting through applications.