Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We're All Doomed. Well, Most of Us.

If you would like to know more about what I'm going to talk about, I suggest you read the article above because reading it is what spurred the blog I'm about to write. 

Basically for those of you who don't wish to read the article, it speaks about how a lot of people are shelling out tons of money, or taking out tons in student loans only to go to college for a major that will not provide them enough money to pay off said loans in the long run.  The author of the article talks about how engineering is pretty much the only major that pays off anymore, and that students need to be more selective before choosing their potential career and taking out student loans.  There are certain things that I agree with in this article and other things that conflict me.  I do think that students today need to be careful with taking out student loans.  It is so easy for kids to think that taking out loans will solve all their problems and they don't need to worry about how much they take out because paying them off is years away.  I know a lot of people today, myself included that wish they had been a bit more careful about how much they had taken out in loans, and I know I had tried to work a bit more during college to help pay them off. 

The thing that bothers me is the person endorsing the idea of being careful about picking your major because you won't be able to pay off your loans.  What happened to America being the land of dreams, and people being able to do what they love?  What happened to encouraging kids to go to school for something they are passionate about so that when they graduate they end up enjoying their job and it feels less like work?  I understand that the economy is bad, I understand that unemployment rates are terrible, but I don't necessarily think that students need to be changing their majors to engineering at the drop of the hat.  I'm not saying that the article is necessarily saying this, I do believe that it is attempting to show kids the importance of being aware of how much your annual income is going to be with the career you would like to have, when you are going to need loans to cover your tuition fees.

My point is that I find it sad that times have gotten so hard now.  In my own case, I have a degree and was told all throughout high school to go to college because those with degrees earn higher incomes.  Two years after graduating college, I am not technically using my degree.  I work as a manager of a restaurant, because in suburban areas like Shippensburg, there aren't an abundance of writing or editorial jobs for English majors.  Let me also stop you quite short by informing everyone that English majors can't necessarily find jobs at newspapers, that would be Communication/Journalism majors, it is a different style of writing.  But back to my point, even now that I am moving away from Shippensburg, and moving to the Harrisburg area, which is a more populous city, it will still be near impossible for me to find a job in my field.  Was I aware of this when I chose my major? Actually yes.  My original plan was that I would get my teaching certificate and teach to earn my main income, while writing and submitting work to be published on the side.  Why did I not go into teaching?  Well, teaching jobs, are pretty slim right about now as well.  I have several friends who have graduated in the past four years with education degrees who are having trouble finding jobs just about anywhere.  It is not for a lack of internships either.  Most of my friends had several internships while in school, moved to different areas of the state and some even to different states.  What are they doing now?  Most of them are working smaller jobs like waitressing on the side while waiting to be called up for substitute teaching.  Some of my friends are subbing for several districts and working at restaurants to pay their rent because they don't get called that often.  One of my friends was lucky enough to get a full time teaching job, because he had graduated from that high school, knew the teachers well, and knew the teacher who was retiring.  It's sad.  Someone's first thought might be that a lot of elementary or high school teachers teach until they are at quite an old age, some of my high school teachers were in their sixties and even seventies, and had taught my parents as well.  So, someone might think that perhaps these teachers need to retire earlier to create jobs for all the graduates looking.  The problem with that is that teachers make roughly 30,000 dollars a year, and so a lot of them have to work until they are older to even save enough for their own retirement. 

It's a hard world out there right now.  Most college students are graduating and are terrified that they don't have a job lined up yet.  Even more graduates are fretting because years have passed since graduation and they aren't yet working in their major.  What is there to be done? I have no idea.  I can't really give anyone any advice on this matter.  The only thing that I would suggest is for students to take advantage of all the opportunities they have when still in school.  Take on internships, join clubs, work while in school, and save save save.  Do anything that you possibly can so that when you do graduate, you at least have these items on your resume that will make you more interesting to those who are hiring.  Again, you still might not be hired.  It's tough out there.  Honestly, we're all doomed.  Just doomed. 

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