VIEWPOINT Unemployed, Part-Time Student Lives the Good Life By Jason McGrath

I am a great king, beloved by my subjects. I make life or death decisions, which are never incorrect. I am six feet tall, and have a body that makes women swoon and men blush. “Why yes, princesses, I would be honored to take your hands in marriage.”

This all ends promptly at 10 a.m., when my fortress of tranquility is destroyed by the dissonant sounds of the newest P. Diddy single. My radio alarm has just sounded, opening another day in the life of an unemployed part-time student.

The alarm is quickly turned off, and slumber resumes. An hour and 34 minutes later, I awake naturally, the way God intended. Popping out of bed, eager to start this new, exciting day, I make my way over to my desk to start the list. That’s right, the always useless To Do list. This list is fascinating because it gives the undeniable impression that I have important things to do and actually intend on doing them. Here is my list:

1. Find job 2. Shave 3. Work out 4. Read for class

This is the list that will determine whether or not I have a “successful” day. Generally, the list is slightly longer than these four entries, but these are the most popular items on the list, and for our purposes here, will be the ones I emphasize. After finishing the list and putting it on top of the 25 other nearly identical lists from the previous month, I head to the kitchen. By now, it’s around noon and I peruse the lunch menu from the kitchen.

There is Campbell’s Chunky Beef with Country Vegetables Soup, George Foreman-grilled chicken breast and pasta or Campbell’s Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup. Scarily enough, this will be the most difficult decision of my day.

After lunch, I consider taking a shower. On the off-chance I might go running later in the day, I decide to postpone this activity. I settle back down in front of the computer, ready to check off the first item on my list – finding a job.

I start by surfing the Web for 45 minutes. Ostensibly, this search will begin by researching companies that I’m interested in working for, but typically degenerate into reading about the Sixers on sportsline.com after about 10 or 15 minutes. Finally, after being disgusted with myself for wasting so much time, I close out of Internet Explorer completely. By signing off of the Internet, I know I am now fully focused on writing cover letters and making phone calls.

It is usually at this point that I remember that I have inesweeper on the computer. This activity can take anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours, depending on my luck. Interestingly enough, my luck is generally not so good. On a conservative estimate, I have played 10,000 games of Minesweeper in 2002 and won only four or five times. It has been suggested to me that I might want to remove this particular file from my laptop, but I’ve never considered myself a quitter.

Looking at the clock and realizing it’s about 3 p.m., I pick up the phone and begin making job-related phone calls. After all, working people have been working for six hours already – their day is nearly over. Mine is just beginning. The reason I decided on being a part-time student in the first place is so I would have adequate time to find current and post-graduate work. This has not gone exactly as planned. As of today, March 22, there are 57 days until graduation and I am not certain what I will be doing on May 19. My guess is selling Cutco knives, but that’s only conjecture.

I’ve been calling the same half dozen people every day for the past month. The routine goes like this: I call the organization and ask to speak to so-and-so, my contact. His voicemail picks up, I hang up. I’ve already had enough bad encounters with voicemails to keep me away from them for good. Fearful that the secretary at the organizations I continually call will begin recognizing me (“Jack, the desperate Georgetown kid on line two, do you want me to put him in your voicemail again?”), I disguise my voice – often by changing the octave, but sometimes by adapting my generic “foreign” accent.

This has not led to further success, but it is fun.

Occasionally, I’ll find some position on e-recruiting or another job site that I’m interested in, but would never be hired for. “Requires four years of public relations experience” and “two years yodeling required,” I apply anyway. Writing a cover letter and sending off my resume is very fulfilling. I deserve a break. This brings me to the second crucial decision of my day. Whether or not to work out.

Looking out onto the Washington, D.C., sky from my balcony, I think I see a cloud somewhere over Crystal City. Better not risk it.

When 5 p.m. rolls around, I saunter into the bathroom to shave and take a shower. Looking at myself in the mirror, I am able to convince myself that neck beard is sexy, in a late 19th-century president sort of way. Shaving can wait a few more days.

The evening is now upon me. Dinner, sports on TV, The Tombs, one to three hours of Nick at Nite and bed at 3 a.m. My textbook sits, unmolested, on my bed where I left it. I have, however, found the time today to read Sports Illustrated, the cartoon page of Newsweek, the J Crew catalog and the side of the Corn Pops box. Being a part-time student shouldn’t mean that my intellect stagnates.

So, there you have it. Six credits, no jobs. The life of an unemployed, part-time student. It’s not for everyone, but if you like Minesweeper and don’t mind a lot of rejection, it might just be for you. Pick up an application today.

Jason McGrath is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and a member of The Hoya editorial board.

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