Friday, June 24, 2011

A Worthwhile Degree

I remain surprised when people assume that when they graduate from college, they'll immediately find a job that is related to their degree, in the discipline they want, at a salary that will allow them to quickly become self-sufficient. Certainly many of my own classmates were offered teaching jobs that began the fall after graduation. I didn't, but it also didn't occur to me that finding a teaching or related job would be easy, or that I would necessarily find one right away.

My student loans, though, aren't as astronomical as some belonging to others. One man in the aforementioned article noted that he spent his loans on a future he did not receive, which makes me wonder what employment guarantee he had. (I have about $37,000 in student loans, the price of four years of undergraduate tuition at a state university, and two years of graduate work at a private institution that paid for most of my coursework.)

Some of this attitude, of course, is naivete; some of it is hope, and not necessarily unreasonable, in thinking that within a certain amount of time, one's college degree will be put to good use and earn one a sufficient income. However, perhaps we should be talking to students about what would happen if they couldn't find not only a job in their field, but a job, period. I simply wonder if those interviewed hadn't considered alternate futures.

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