Having already been labeled the dreary title of “lost generation”, youth in my generation are forced to come to terms with the fact that the job market is not what they envisioned it would be, and their college degree is relatively worthless at the moment. As upsetting as this may be to recent graduates, those of us who graduated a few years ago have already accepted this as the current way of life, but still wonder if we could have achieved a greater salary if we had opted to start working fresh out of high school instead of wasting time and money on a college degree. Don’t get me wrong, college was full of many memories that cannot be replicated and the classes were vastly beneficial to understanding more worldly concepts, but many recent grads are double guessing themselves and their education choices.
College degrees are the epitome of every student’s educational goals – for most of middle-class America, going to college was a rite of passage of sorts. However, with the changing economy, it has become necessary to delve deeper into the statistics of a college degree to determine whether it is in fact necessary for a long-lasting career. Most economists will answer this question by agreeing that a college degree is extremely important for any world economy – an uneducated population can be a dangerous thing; more than that, the economy goes through various trends which affect unemployment, but it will be back to normal before long. Whether the unemployed grads believe this or not is a different story.
However, in my own experience, despite the difficulty in securing a job (and the hefty price tag), a college degree comes with a certain air of pride. When employers see that you attended a highly-ranked university and earned a degree from the school, they are aware that you have some form of discipline and are able to commit to a program. Depending on your degree, employers are even able to tell if you are good with research (as an Art History graduate), or good with numbers (as an Accounting graduate). Your college degree is able to communicate a lot about your background without saying much at all. This little bit of communication is sometimes all that is needed to push you above the rest of the applicants.
And in the end, it is not so much that we can’t find a job, it’s mostly that we don’t want to settle for what appears to be an entry-level position. Whether you accept the first position offered to you, or hold out for your dream job, it is still evident that your college degree is worth much more than the price of your tuition. It can lead to a lifelong career choice, and even through the smog of our current economic conditions, it is clear we won’t be the “lost generation” for much longer.