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Guest column: Outlook bleak for students

BY JESSICA KOLNER | OCTOBER 08, 2013 5:00 AM

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As we have progressed as humans, the world has evolved around us, and the ways in which we measure our successes have grown and changed with the times. Though we no longer measure success by which man was able to kill the largest buffalo or which woman successfully harvested the most vegetables for her clan, the basis of success is still grounded in these ideals. Graduating from college, marrying that special someone, producing 2.5 healthy children, culminating with a comfortable retirement in Sun City or the Villages. All of this then hinges on a very simple concept: to provide for one’s family, which can only be accomplished by possessing one thing — gainful employment.

Though asking an 18-year-old to declare a major and simultaneously choose a field they will proceed to work and study in for nearly the rest of their lives can seem slightly unreasonable, this is how the world of higher education functions. Students declare a field of study, they take various classes within that field over the next four years, and then they graduate. However, now is the difficult part — finding a job.

While national unemployment within the United States has settled around 7.3 percent as of August 2013, nearly 53 percent of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. The areas of elementary education (5 percent), engineering (7 percent), law and public policy (9.2 percent), the arts (9.8 percent), architecture (12.8 percent), video, film, and photography (11.4 percent), commercial art and graphic design (10.5 percent), agriculture and natural resources (6.1 percent), journalism (7 percent), business (7.5 percent), computer science (8.7 percent), history (9.5 percent), advertising and public relations (7.3 percent), and psychology (9.2 percent), are witnessing the highest unemployment rates to date. There is a correlation between popular majors among college students and high unemployment rates in those particular majors. In other words, there are more students studying these subjects than there are jobs in these areas.

Unemployment among recent college graduates leads to an unfortunate domino effect. Graduates will most often expect steady jobs with a benefits package and decent salaries. They may be planning a wedding or expecting to start saving for a house. Without gainful employment, the chances of these dreams becoming a reality continue to drop. However, the lack of gainful unemployment does lead to a heavier dependence on one’s parents. There is a greater need to be on your parent’s insurance, which could be why there is an unheard number of recent college graduates who support Obamacare.

The lack of employment in the United States, especially among recent college graduates, creates an element of control for the federal government. The longer the government fails to stimulate the economy means the longer businesses lack the incentive to hire more employees, therefore the longer the government stays in control. If people do not have jobs, they likely do not have health insurance, hence more support for Obamacare. Without jobs, people depend on government handouts such as food stamps and welfare. They look to government for freebies. They look to them to fulfill the empty promises made on the campaign trail. They look to it to come through for its citizens, and when it doesn’t, when it fails to allow their citizens the opportunity to be self-sufficient, it’s time for someone to question its motives.

College students, college graduates included, were sold a bill of goods. They were encouraged to pursue higher education with the promise of good jobs and even brighter futures, but in the end, along with their $160,000 pieces of paper, all they will end up with are massive student loans and no way to pay them back.


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