Theodore R. Griffiths
Half of recent college graduates are working jobs that do not require a degree. Unemployment for English majors is at 9.8 percent. Then you have myself: a wide-eyed soon-to-be English major graduate that will more than likely be underemployed after my time at Millersville University. What were these four years of constant stress (on my brain and my liver) for then?
I have been asking myself that very question for the past two years. Many times I wonder why I buried myself under this mountain of debt just to acquire a piece of paper that guarantees nothing but the paper itself.
According to the Huffington Post, of the 41.7 million working graduates in 2010, 48 percent work jobs that require less than a bachelor’s degree, and a staggering 38 percent work jobs that do not even require a high school diploma.
Then you have a report from The Atlantic which states that 9.8 percent of English majors are unemployed, something that should be expected, especially when considering the doomsday scenario that most people paint when you tell them that you are studying English.
The more shocking statistic of this study is the fact that 10.4 percent of economics majors are unemployed, a terrifying fact which proves that the unemployment problem among graduates is widespread, and not only an issue in the field of liberal arts.
There are exceptions to this rule, and The Atlantic did point out that students graduating in the fields of health, business, and education have noticeably lower unemployment rates, but those rates are still at 6.1 percent, 7.3 percent, and 5.7 percent. Those numbers do not quite spell success.
Now back to my original question: Why did I decide to do this to myself?
Well, to be honest, I was told that I would be working at McDonalds for the rest of my life if I did not earn a college degree, but it seems as though my chances of working at a restaurant serving nearly edible food are relatively similar, college degree or not.
I recently finished what I expected to be my final stint “cooking” preprepared food at a local restaurant that may or may not reside on South George Street, but I am more likely to end up working a job like that next month than working at a job where I can actually apply my skills as a Millersville University graduate.
After funneling thousands of dollars into an education, most people believe that once they are handed that piece of paper while wearing their cap and gown (the actual diploma is sent in the mail) that a job is guaranteed as soon as they walk off of that stage.
Sorry to ruin your day of celebration, but many of you just wasted more money than I do on electronics, and that is more than most people waste in a lifetime. While working at that restaurant on South George Street, I had three different coworkers with college degrees ranging from my age (23) to middle-age (50).
This was a job that a well trained chimpanzee could do, yet there were people working with me who spent four or more years of their lives training in a specialized field of study. I would reconsider that immediate employment after college if I were you.
Now we get to the end of the rabbit hole, and I realize that I have to pay back over $30,000 in loans after my six month grace period that will follow my graduation in two weeks. The harsh reality of this is the fact that I will more than likely earn less than $30,000 per year, which can barely pay rent, let alone my monthly loan payments and personal expenses.
My lifestyle requires a job that pays at least $100,000 per year (I like expensive champagne), and even though that is still quite a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things, I will probably never reach that level of economic comfort.
Well then Theodore, was it worth it? (Champagne provokes internal discourse.) Sure it was. I learned to drink more than the human body should be able to handle, drugs were more prevalent than a Phish concert, and I eventually earned a degree which could help with my future employment (if this article didn’t already ruin that chance).
I would recommend it to anyone, especially because you have overstayed your welcome by age 18 if you still live with your parents. I will leave you with one more piece of advice before I leave this institution and enter a matrix of shattered dreams and mental breakdowns.
Go to your classes and finish your degree in four years (hopefully with a GPA of 3.5 or higher), but do not listen to the Peer Health Educators. Go out, party, and enjoy yourself. Be an idiot every once in awhile and make some memories. Talk to random people and leave an impact on each of those individuals (good or bad). Enjoy these four years because life is grim once you leave the comfort of South George Street.