Frankly, Society, I’m Pissed

If you’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of being anywhere within earshot of me this year, you’ve probably heard me grumble and moan something about the job market, my lack of health insurance or the impending exams I have to take to avoid the job market (I know, I’m a real hoot of a gal). But the truth is, I’m only a college junior and I’m worried about this shit.

So imagine how pissed off I get when I read comments like these telling Caitlin that’s she’s “ignorant” and implying that she’s lazy, coddled and stupid, especially for not knowing what a Roth IRA is.

Frankly, society, I’m pissed.

Caitlin, like the rest of us, was told that if you go to college, you will get a high paying job. It’s the American Dream. You bust your balls to get into a school like Wesleyan and you should have it made, right?

Well, yeah, they did when they graduated twenty years ago.

I don’t want this to sound like a fatalistic rant and say none of you guys will ever find a job after college. No, my point is that the economy is so fucking different than when your parents went to school that it’s not the same game anymore. The rules are different. And fewer people are winning.

What upsets me most is that we as a generation have let them define us as lazy, coddled and stupid. We buy into their explanations that the reason 48% of college graduates move back in with their parents after college is that we’re spoiled and conditioned to entitlement. We let them convince us that despite busting our asses to earn a college degree, we are unambitious because we cannot get a job.

This is horse shit. All of it. Our parent’s generation had the reigns of power long before any of us knew what college was and were playing with transformers under the kitchen table. They voted in Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush again–none of whom were particularly suited for building the economic foundation that would encourage job growth or financial independence for the young. Each congressional administration thus far has done nothing to alleviate the unbelievable hike in college costs. The maximum Pell Grant has remained at $4,050 all four years of my college education, while nearly every college in the goddamned country has raised its tuition each successive year. In fact, each year, it seems, they do their best to make sure that students are completely dependent on loans instead of grants for education costs and make it harder and harder for graduates to declare bankruptcy if these costs become too much.

The facts don’t lead me to believe that college students and graduates are lazy, coddled and stupid. Just the contrary. But the value of a college degree is declining each and every year as the costs to go to school keep climbing. Now, jobs that used to require only a BA now want a MA. Entry-level job wages have remained stagnant as housing, health and food costs have continued to rise with inflation. Many jobs you can get out of college no longer provide health insurance or retirement benefits and the job security you can expect from such a position is minimal.

But our parent’s generation, they want you to believe that you’re not working hard enough. That you’re unmotivated. That the jobs are there, you just aren’t looking in the right places.

It’s bullshit, all of it, and I’m sick of hearing it. Your movies, your sitcoms and your culture spoonfed us with a promise that knowledge is power and now we’re coming to terms with the reality that our education means little in the world they created. Frankly, society, I’m pissed.

Some facts from a book a completely recommend anyone and everyone to read called Strapped by Tamara Draut:

  • By 1994, males 25-24 without college degrees were earning roughly the same amount as their similarly educated grandparents earned in 1949.
  • The maximum Pell Grant award, the nation’s premier program for helping poor kids pay for college, covers about one-third of the costs of a four-year college today. It covered three-quarters in the 1970s.
  • Three-quarters of full-time college students are holding down jobs.
  • In 1972, a young-adult male with a bachelor’s degree or higher earned on average $52,087 (2002 dollars). In 2002, young male college grads earned $48,955.
  • In 2002, Gen Xers worked on average 45.6 hours a week, nearly three hours more than young Baby Boomers worked in 1977.
  • Roughly 33 percent, or one in three, of those aged 18 to 34 are without health insurance, the highest percentage of any group.
  • Since 1992-93 the average college grad’s student loan debt has grown from $12,100 to $19,300 in 2003 (inflation-adjusted dollars).
  • Between 1995 and 2002, rents in nearly all of the largest metropolitan areas rose astronomically: Median rents in San Francisco ballooned 76 percent; Boston, 62 percent; San Diego; 54 percent; even median rents in less costly Denver shot up 49 percent.
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42 thoughts on “Frankly, Society, I’m Pissed

  1. Rob

    Now, two more cents.Excellent post, and thanks for injecting a small dose of reality into the world. While part of me wants to agree with the anonymous commenter who suspects that a lot of kids who can’t find “real” “jobs” often don’t take the needed time in college to figure out the job market, the fact remains that the economy differs drastically from what our parents knew. The ongoing characterization of our generation (gen y? the millenials? what will they think of next?) embarrasses me: the boomers, who happen to control the media, like to refer to us as coddled, brilliant, and about to save the world (never mind the lazy part). Like Dan points out, society now expects that its young will be coddled as long as it takes. But what if your family is unable to do so, emotionally or financially? I’ve seen a few of my friends graduate and try to save the world without a) rich parents and b) health insurance. It just doesn’t work. At least it most definitely is not working. The shit they feed you at schools like Wesleyan and Tufts about graduating and filling whatever role you want to in society is bullshit. Trust me, and keep mailing those tuition checks.I’m lucky enough to be the first in my family to get a BA *and* to work for a company that actually rewards its employees’ intelligence. But as credentialism pervades the workplace, the higher ed. industry keeps inventing new ways of trading pornographically oversized amounts of money for pieces of paper. That’s never going to stop, and as a result, you’ll see fewer and fewer “real” “jobs” available.Good luck out there, and don’t pay too much to play (i.e., why the fuck do you need a masters?).

  2. Rob

    Now, two more cents.Excellent post, and thanks for injecting a small dose of reality into the world. While part of me wants to agree with the anonymous commenter who suspects that a lot of kids who can’t find “real” “jobs” often don’t take the needed time in college to figure out the job market, the fact remains that the economy differs drastically from what our parents knew. The ongoing characterization of our generation (gen y? the millenials? what will they think of next?) embarrasses me: the boomers, who happen to control the media, like to refer to us as coddled, brilliant, and about to save the world (never mind the lazy part). Like Dan points out, society now expects that its young will be coddled as long as it takes. But what if your family is unable to do so, emotionally or financially? I’ve seen a few of my friends graduate and try to save the world without a) rich parents and b) health insurance. It just doesn’t work. At least it most definitely is not working. The shit they feed you at schools like Wesleyan and Tufts about graduating and filling whatever role you want to in society is bullshit. Trust me, and keep mailing those tuition checks.I’m lucky enough to be the first in my family to get a BA *and* to work for a company that actually rewards its employees’ intelligence. But as credentialism pervades the workplace, the higher ed. industry keeps inventing new ways of trading pornographically oversized amounts of money for pieces of paper. That’s never going to stop, and as a result, you’ll see fewer and fewer “real” “jobs” available.Good luck out there, and don’t pay too much to play (i.e., why the fuck do you need a masters?).

  3. Rob

    Now, two more cents.

    Excellent post, and thanks for injecting a small dose of reality into the world. While part of me wants to agree with the anonymous commenter who suspects that a lot of kids who can’t find “real” “jobs” often don’t take the needed time in college to figure out the job market, the fact remains that the economy differs drastically from what our parents knew. The ongoing characterization of our generation (gen y? the millenials? what will they think of next?) embarrasses me: the boomers, who happen to control the media, like to refer to us as coddled, brilliant, and about to save the world (never mind the lazy part). Like Dan points out, society now expects that its young will be coddled as long as it takes. But what if your family is unable to do so, emotionally or financially?

    I’ve seen a few of my friends graduate and try to save the world without a) rich parents and b) health insurance. It just doesn’t work. At least it most definitely is not working. The shit they feed you at schools like Wesleyan and Tufts about graduating and filling whatever role you want to in society is bullshit. Trust me, and keep mailing those tuition checks.

    I’m lucky enough to be the first in my family to get a BA *and* to work for a company that actually rewards its employees’ intelligence. But as credentialism pervades the workplace, the higher ed. industry keeps inventing new ways of trading pornographically oversized amounts of money for pieces of paper. That’s never going to stop, and as a result, you’ll see fewer and fewer “real” “jobs” available.

    Good luck out there, and don’t pay too much to play (i.e., why the fuck do you need a masters?).

  4. Dan

    Holly, thanks for this awesome post. I’m a 25-year-old guy who moved to Middletown about three weeks ago. I graduated from Tufts in ’03 — English major, history minor. After living on my own during and after college, I moved back home to CT to be with my family. I think the biggest, most consistent source of tension between us was their disapproval of my ability to “get a real job.” (Mind you, I have a column in the Hartford Advocate *and* I tutor at Capital Community College. But neither of these things provide any insurance/benefits, let alone fit their idea of success.) I’m saddled with student loans, a middling amount of credit card debt, no insurance, and a car that’s been reassembled more times than frankenstein.I think your observations are spot-on. Higher education is a full-fledged industry at this point. Us “smart kids” get fast-tracked and pumped into their admissions offices wholesale. But those increasing tuition costs mean increasing loan loads (at a time where, as you point out, the government hasn’t stayed in-step), which in turn drive recent graduates to take out credit card debt… It’s pretty obvious where this is going. (I fell for the “smart kid” tracking twofold in that I went to a private high school, too.) The point is, if mommy and daddy aren’t paying for a lot of your shit — and don’t continue to after you graduate — your post-graduation reality is a lot bleaker than our culture currently imagines it to be.That’s 2 more cents from another uninsured twentysomething recent graduate.-db

  5. Dan

    Holly, thanks for this awesome post. I’m a 25-year-old guy who moved to Middletown about three weeks ago. I graduated from Tufts in ’03 — English major, history minor. After living on my own during and after college, I moved back home to CT to be with my family. I think the biggest, most consistent source of tension between us was their disapproval of my ability to “get a real job.” (Mind you, I have a column in the Hartford Advocate *and* I tutor at Capital Community College. But neither of these things provide any insurance/benefits, let alone fit their idea of success.) I’m saddled with student loans, a middling amount of credit card debt, no insurance, and a car that’s been reassembled more times than frankenstein.I think your observations are spot-on. Higher education is a full-fledged industry at this point. Us “smart kids” get fast-tracked and pumped into their admissions offices wholesale. But those increasing tuition costs mean increasing loan loads (at a time where, as you point out, the government hasn’t stayed in-step), which in turn drive recent graduates to take out credit card debt… It’s pretty obvious where this is going. (I fell for the “smart kid” tracking twofold in that I went to a private high school, too.) The point is, if mommy and daddy aren’t paying for a lot of your shit — and don’t continue to after you graduate — your post-graduation reality is a lot bleaker than our culture currently imagines it to be.That’s 2 more cents from another uninsured twentysomething recent graduate.-db

  6. Dan

    Holly, thanks for this awesome post.

    I’m a 25-year-old guy who moved to Middletown about three weeks ago. I graduated from Tufts in ’03 — English major, history minor. After living on my own during and after college, I moved back home to CT to be with my family. I think the biggest, most consistent source of tension between us was their disapproval of my ability to “get a real job.” (Mind you, I have a column in the Hartford Advocate *and* I tutor at Capital Community College. But neither of these things provide any insurance/benefits, let alone fit their idea of success.) I’m saddled with student loans, a middling amount of credit card debt, no insurance, and a car that’s been reassembled more times than frankenstein.

    I think your observations are spot-on. Higher education is a full-fledged industry at this point. Us “smart kids” get fast-tracked and pumped into their admissions offices wholesale. But those increasing tuition costs mean increasing loan loads (at a time where, as you point out, the government hasn’t stayed in-step), which in turn drive recent graduates to take out credit card debt… It’s pretty obvious where this is going. (I fell for the “smart kid” tracking twofold in that I went to a private high school, too.) The point is, if mommy and daddy aren’t paying for a lot of your shit — and don’t continue to after you graduate — your post-graduation reality is a lot bleaker than our culture currently imagines it to be.

    That’s 2 more cents from another uninsured twentysomething recent graduate.

    -db

  7. Estrella

    holly, your points on the economy and college possibly being a waste of our times etc aside (I’m not arguing the merit of those arguments at all), this article by caitlin PISSED ME OFF.she gets exactly 0 pity points from me:”I couldn’t imagine myself in an entry-level administrative position staring at a spreadsheet for eight hours a day—partly because it sounded dull, but also because in college I had never learned how to use spreadsheet programs.”ok, first of all, “wah, wah, wah I don’t want to do a dull job! I need to be getting paid to have fun.” and secondly, no one taught me how to use spreadsheet programs either, but I’ve held jobs, on-campus and off where knowing how to make spreadsheets would be useful (though never required), so I got my ass to googling and I’ve taught myself to make some of the most kick-ass spreadsheets you can ever imagine. And I’m willing to bet that I’m not any smarter than Caitlin. thirdly, come ON, philosophy major? isn’t it basically understood that its not going to get you any jobs? I mean I’m all for taking classes because you enjoy them and all that crap, but understand that there are consequences. fourthly (and I promise I’ll stop after this) it is IN NO WAY the responsibility of a University to teach you about Roth IRAs, basic tax forms, personal economics or how to rent an apartment. and you act surprised that she sounds coddled?!?!

  8. Estrella

    holly, your points on the economy and college possibly being a waste of our times etc aside (I’m not arguing the merit of those arguments at all), this article by caitlin PISSED ME OFF.she gets exactly 0 pity points from me:”I couldn’t imagine myself in an entry-level administrative position staring at a spreadsheet for eight hours a day—partly because it sounded dull, but also because in college I had never learned how to use spreadsheet programs.”ok, first of all, “wah, wah, wah I don’t want to do a dull job! I need to be getting paid to have fun.” and secondly, no one taught me how to use spreadsheet programs either, but I’ve held jobs, on-campus and off where knowing how to make spreadsheets would be useful (though never required), so I got my ass to googling and I’ve taught myself to make some of the most kick-ass spreadsheets you can ever imagine. And I’m willing to bet that I’m not any smarter than Caitlin. thirdly, come ON, philosophy major? isn’t it basically understood that its not going to get you any jobs? I mean I’m all for taking classes because you enjoy them and all that crap, but understand that there are consequences. fourthly (and I promise I’ll stop after this) it is IN NO WAY the responsibility of a University to teach you about Roth IRAs, basic tax forms, personal economics or how to rent an apartment. and you act surprised that she sounds coddled?!?!

  9. Estrella

    holly, your points on the economy and college possibly being a waste of our times etc aside (I’m not arguing the merit of those arguments at all), this article by caitlin PISSED ME OFF.

    she gets exactly 0 pity points from me:

    “I couldn’t imagine myself in an entry-level administrative position staring at a spreadsheet for eight hours a day—partly because it sounded dull, but also because in college I had never learned how to use spreadsheet programs.”

    ok, first of all, “wah, wah, wah I don’t want to do a dull job! I need to be getting paid to have fun.” and secondly, no one taught me how to use spreadsheet programs either, but I’ve held jobs, on-campus and off where knowing how to make spreadsheets would be useful (though never required), so I got my ass to googling and I’ve taught myself to make some of the most kick-ass spreadsheets you can ever imagine. And I’m willing to bet that I’m not any smarter than Caitlin. thirdly, come ON, philosophy major? isn’t it basically understood that its not going to get you any jobs? I mean I’m all for taking classes because you enjoy them and all that crap, but understand that there are consequences. fourthly (and I promise I’ll stop after this) it is IN NO WAY the responsibility of a University to teach you about Roth IRAs, basic tax forms, personal economics or how to rent an apartment. and you act surprised that she sounds coddled?!?!

  10. Anonymous

    i’d imagine the complicated part being that for some people getting a college degree is a very significant investment to begin with to the point that going to graduate school may not be an option because a lack of resources. then they find themselves in a situation where they are saddled with debt, have lost four years where they could have potentially been earning far more money and are generally feeling like they are getting a shitty return on their investment.we’re not even touching the fact that for some people spending that much time in school rots their brain. god knows id rather flip burgers than go to grad school (though boy, it’d be nice if that weren’t my actual choice).

  11. Anonymous

    i’d imagine the complicated part being that for some people getting a college degree is a very significant investment to begin with to the point that going to graduate school may not be an option because a lack of resources. then they find themselves in a situation where they are saddled with debt, have lost four years where they could have potentially been earning far more money and are generally feeling like they are getting a shitty return on their investment.we’re not even touching the fact that for some people spending that much time in school rots their brain. god knows id rather flip burgers than go to grad school (though boy, it’d be nice if that weren’t my actual choice).

  12. Anonymous

    i’d imagine the complicated part being that for some people getting a college degree is a very significant investment to begin with to the point that going to graduate school may not be an option because a lack of resources. then they find themselves in a situation where they are saddled with debt, have lost four years where they could have potentially been earning far more money and are generally feeling like they are getting a shitty return on their investment.

    we’re not even touching the fact that for some people spending that much time in school rots their brain. god knows id rather flip burgers than go to grad school (though boy, it’d be nice if that weren’t my actual choice).

  13. Anonymous

    what youre parents shouldve been telling you is what my parents have been telling me my whole life, which is that a college degree today is the same thing a high school degree used to be, and that you have to go to GRADUATE SCHOOL to be successful financially. not all that complicated…

  14. Anonymous

    what youre parents shouldve been telling you is what my parents have been telling me my whole life, which is that a college degree today is the same thing a high school degree used to be, and that you have to go to GRADUATE SCHOOL to be successful financially. not all that complicated…

  15. Anonymous

    what youre parents shouldve been telling you is what my parents have been telling me my whole life, which is that a college degree today is the same thing a high school degree used to be, and that you have to go to GRADUATE SCHOOL to be successful financially. not all that complicated…

  16. Holly

    Hi angry commenter, First off, as stated, I am a junior in college thinking about this. I am not in my last semester of college suddenly shocked by the real world and whining about it, so sorry, your pisspoor logic doesn’t apply. Secondly, in response to your pigheaded idea that internships and jobs will lead to better jobs outside of school, I must add my two cents.I have had internships and I know first hand that most people in this country who need to pay for college cannot afford to take unpaid internships–which are, sadly, what most internships are. Secondly, most internships are located in very expensive cities, which, as we have both mentioned, are far too ridiculous in costs to live in without a high paying job. Then there’s your suggestion about jobs. Most jobs that you can get without a college degree are (yes!) service-sector jobs! Which, if you’re applying for a non-service sector job after college MEAN NOTHING! Trust me, as someone who worked as a waitress for five years of my life, I know how worthless this line is on my resume when applying for an office job. Hoo, boy. Then you say “There is growth.” Where? I haven’t read much about growth in any industry that requires a BA or BS with the notable exceptions of Nursing and Computer Science. Yes, there is tons of growth in Nursing and Computer Science. Thanks. But no where have I ever read there being much growth in other fields.With that all said and done, fuck you and your bullshit. Quite frankly, as I’ve said before, I am not ignorant. I am not desperate. I’m just looking at the facts. So thanks for playing, but no dice.

  17. Holly

    Hi angry commenter, First off, as stated, I am a junior in college thinking about this. I am not in my last semester of college suddenly shocked by the real world and whining about it, so sorry, your pisspoor logic doesn’t apply. Secondly, in response to your pigheaded idea that internships and jobs will lead to better jobs outside of school, I must add my two cents.I have had internships and I know first hand that most people in this country who need to pay for college cannot afford to take unpaid internships–which are, sadly, what most internships are. Secondly, most internships are located in very expensive cities, which, as we have both mentioned, are far too ridiculous in costs to live in without a high paying job. Then there’s your suggestion about jobs. Most jobs that you can get without a college degree are (yes!) service-sector jobs! Which, if you’re applying for a non-service sector job after college MEAN NOTHING! Trust me, as someone who worked as a waitress for five years of my life, I know how worthless this line is on my resume when applying for an office job. Hoo, boy. Then you say “There is growth.” Where? I haven’t read much about growth in any industry that requires a BA or BS with the notable exceptions of Nursing and Computer Science. Yes, there is tons of growth in Nursing and Computer Science. Thanks. But no where have I ever read there being much growth in other fields.With that all said and done, fuck you and your bullshit. Quite frankly, as I’ve said before, I am not ignorant. I am not desperate. I’m just looking at the facts. So thanks for playing, but no dice.

  18. Holly

    Hi angry commenter,

    First off, as stated, I am a junior in college thinking about this. I am not in my last semester of college suddenly shocked by the real world and whining about it, so sorry, your pisspoor logic doesn’t apply.

    Secondly, in response to your pigheaded idea that internships and jobs will lead to better jobs outside of school, I must add my two cents.

    I have had internships and I know first hand that most people in this country who need to pay for college cannot afford to take unpaid internships–which are, sadly, what most internships are. Secondly, most internships are located in very expensive cities, which, as we have both mentioned, are far too ridiculous in costs to live in without a high paying job. Then there’s your suggestion about jobs. Most jobs that you can get without a college degree are (yes!) service-sector jobs! Which, if you’re applying for a non-service sector job after college MEAN NOTHING! Trust me, as someone who worked as a waitress for five years of my life, I know how worthless this line is on my resume when applying for an office job.

    Hoo, boy. Then you say “There is growth.” Where? I haven’t read much about growth in any industry that requires a BA or BS with the notable exceptions of Nursing and Computer Science. Yes, there is tons of growth in Nursing and Computer Science. Thanks. But no where have I ever read there being much growth in other fields.

    With that all said and done, fuck you and your bullshit. Quite frankly, as I’ve said before, I am not ignorant. I am not desperate. I’m just looking at the facts. So thanks for playing, but no dice.

  19. Anonymous

    “I think way too many kids assume that because they’re smart and because their professors and parents and peers tell them that they’ll succeed no matter what BECAUSE they’re smart, they’re lazy and don’t plan for the future the way they should.”While this may speak of poorly planning your time, it takes hard work to get good grades, regardless of anything outside of school. So don’t mass-call your peers lazy.

  20. Anonymous

    “I think way too many kids assume that because they’re smart and because their professors and parents and peers tell them that they’ll succeed no matter what BECAUSE they’re smart, they’re lazy and don’t plan for the future the way they should.”While this may speak of poorly planning your time, it takes hard work to get good grades, regardless of anything outside of school. So don’t mass-call your peers lazy.

  21. Anonymous

    “I think way too many kids assume that because they’re smart and because their professors and parents and peers tell them that they’ll succeed no matter what BECAUSE they’re smart, they’re lazy and don’t plan for the future the way they should.”

    While this may speak of poorly planning your time, it takes hard work to get good grades, regardless of anything outside of school. So don’t mass-call your peers lazy.

  22. Anonymous

    This is probably going to piss some people off, but I’m going to say it anyway. In my experience, the people who don’t get decent jobs after graduating for top colleges (with decent or better grades) are the ones who waited until senior year to think about their futures. It’s ridiculous how many seniors I know who’ve never had internships, or worked real jobs, or even participated in on-campus groups or events that would boost their resumes. I’m not saying that everyone should spend all their time building up a resume, but those who get internships and entry level jobs in their field of interest during the summers, who participate in activities in that field, and who work on other skills that will help them find jobs easier (alum networking, improving interviewing skills, having the crc help them with cover letters, etc) succeed in getting good jobs. You may not be able to find a job in NYC that pays $60,000, but our parents and grandparents understood that you had to “pay your way” and take crappy jobs (being an assistant, that kind of thing) that will lead to bigger things later down the road. It also means looking into industries and cities that you wouldn’t normally consider, where there is growth… not everyone can do something glamorous in Boston or NY or Chicago. I think the other problem is that so many people in liberal arts colleges don’t have realistic expectations of the job market. If you’re a philosophy major who’s never held a job or an internship, even a 3.9 gpa isn’t going to get a non-service sector job. Who wants to hire someone with zero experience or applicable skills? I think way too many kids assume that because they’re smart and because their professors and parents and peers tell them that they’ll succeed no matter what BECAUSE they’re smart, they’re lazy and don’t plan for the future the way they should.Stop whining about the economy and loan debt and start planning ahead to ensure that you do have a good job after college. Finally, you have to be pretty ignorant to believe that “going to college means you’ll get a “high” paying job after college.” Did you expect someone to throw $80k at you for writing an English thesis? Get real.

  23. Anonymous

    This is probably going to piss some people off, but I’m going to say it anyway. In my experience, the people who don’t get decent jobs after graduating for top colleges (with decent or better grades) are the ones who waited until senior year to think about their futures. It’s ridiculous how many seniors I know who’ve never had internships, or worked real jobs, or even participated in on-campus groups or events that would boost their resumes. I’m not saying that everyone should spend all their time building up a resume, but those who get internships and entry level jobs in their field of interest during the summers, who participate in activities in that field, and who work on other skills that will help them find jobs easier (alum networking, improving interviewing skills, having the crc help them with cover letters, etc) succeed in getting good jobs. You may not be able to find a job in NYC that pays $60,000, but our parents and grandparents understood that you had to “pay your way” and take crappy jobs (being an assistant, that kind of thing) that will lead to bigger things later down the road. It also means looking into industries and cities that you wouldn’t normally consider, where there is growth… not everyone can do something glamorous in Boston or NY or Chicago. I think the other problem is that so many people in liberal arts colleges don’t have realistic expectations of the job market. If you’re a philosophy major who’s never held a job or an internship, even a 3.9 gpa isn’t going to get a non-service sector job. Who wants to hire someone with zero experience or applicable skills? I think way too many kids assume that because they’re smart and because their professors and parents and peers tell them that they’ll succeed no matter what BECAUSE they’re smart, they’re lazy and don’t plan for the future the way they should.Stop whining about the economy and loan debt and start planning ahead to ensure that you do have a good job after college. Finally, you have to be pretty ignorant to believe that “going to college means you’ll get a “high” paying job after college.” Did you expect someone to throw $80k at you for writing an English thesis? Get real.

  24. Anonymous

    This is probably going to piss some people off, but I’m going to say it anyway. In my experience, the people who don’t get decent jobs after graduating for top colleges (with decent or better grades) are the ones who waited until senior year to think about their futures. It’s ridiculous how many seniors I know who’ve never had internships, or worked real jobs, or even participated in on-campus groups or events that would boost their resumes. I’m not saying that everyone should spend all their time building up a resume, but those who get internships and entry level jobs in their field of interest during the summers, who participate in activities in that field, and who work on other skills that will help them find jobs easier (alum networking, improving interviewing skills, having the crc help them with cover letters, etc) succeed in getting good jobs.

    You may not be able to find a job in NYC that pays $60,000, but our parents and grandparents understood that you had to “pay your way” and take crappy jobs (being an assistant, that kind of thing) that will lead to bigger things later down the road. It also means looking into industries and cities that you wouldn’t normally consider, where there is growth… not everyone can do something glamorous in Boston or NY or Chicago.

    I think the other problem is that so many people in liberal arts colleges don’t have realistic expectations of the job market. If you’re a philosophy major who’s never held a job or an internship, even a 3.9 gpa isn’t going to get a non-service sector job. Who wants to hire someone with zero experience or applicable skills? I think way too many kids assume that because they’re smart and because their professors and parents and peers tell them that they’ll succeed no matter what BECAUSE they’re smart, they’re lazy and don’t plan for the future the way they should.

    Stop whining about the economy and loan debt and start planning ahead to ensure that you do have a good job after college.

    Finally, you have to be pretty ignorant to believe that “going to college means you’ll get a “high” paying job after college.” Did you expect someone to throw $80k at you for writing an English thesis? Get real.

  25. Anonymous

    I’m scared that my friend who went to a decent school (bucknell), got a master’s degree at a state school, and taught some classes as an adjunct is now…working at Starbucks full time. She has health insurance; Starbucks is good about that. She’s even moving up, a shift manager or something. But even though she’s in a city with a pretty low cost of living, she’s barely making it b/c of loans. Plus, who wants to go to school for that long to make coffee and stand on your feet? There’s nothing wrong with making coffee, of course, and more power to those who have the stamina to stand all day. However, if I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on my education.Anyway, I’m worried that I will end up like my friend (not that i’d ever tell her).

  26. Anonymous

    I’m scared that my friend who went to a decent school (bucknell), got a master’s degree at a state school, and taught some classes as an adjunct is now…working at Starbucks full time. She has health insurance; Starbucks is good about that. She’s even moving up, a shift manager or something. But even though she’s in a city with a pretty low cost of living, she’s barely making it b/c of loans. Plus, who wants to go to school for that long to make coffee and stand on your feet? There’s nothing wrong with making coffee, of course, and more power to those who have the stamina to stand all day. However, if I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on my education.Anyway, I’m worried that I will end up like my friend (not that i’d ever tell her).

  27. Anonymous

    I’m scared that my friend who went to a decent school (bucknell), got a master’s degree at a state school, and taught some classes as an adjunct is now…working at Starbucks full time. She has health insurance; Starbucks is good about that. She’s even moving up, a shift manager or something. But even though she’s in a city with a pretty low cost of living, she’s barely making it b/c of loans. Plus, who wants to go to school for that long to make coffee and stand on your feet? There’s nothing wrong with making coffee, of course, and more power to those who have the stamina to stand all day. However, if I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on my education.
    Anyway, I’m worried that I will end up like my friend (not that i’d ever tell her).

  28. MSK

    This was a very thoughtful post and it hits me right at home with the part that deals with the economy being very different than my parents generation. In my case, the generation before me keeps telling me to enjoy my current life and to not worry too much about supporting myself for now but with rising costs of college and the desire to keep a certain lifestyle, I can feel the stretch.I hope I can find work (steady full time) after I get my BA but the need for the MA seems to be rising these days in many fields. Thanks for blogging over the winter break.MSK

  29. MSK

    This was a very thoughtful post and it hits me right at home with the part that deals with the economy being very different than my parents generation. In my case, the generation before me keeps telling me to enjoy my current life and to not worry too much about supporting myself for now but with rising costs of college and the desire to keep a certain lifestyle, I can feel the stretch.I hope I can find work (steady full time) after I get my BA but the need for the MA seems to be rising these days in many fields. Thanks for blogging over the winter break.MSK

  30. MSK

    This was a very thoughtful post and it hits me right at home with the part that deals with the economy being very different than my parents generation. In my case, the generation before me keeps telling me to enjoy my current life and to not worry too much about supporting myself for now but with rising costs of college and the desire to keep a certain lifestyle, I can feel the stretch.

    I hope I can find work (steady full time) after I get my BA but the need for the MA seems to be rising these days in many fields. Thanks for blogging over the winter break.

    MSK

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