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Wednesday, September 27, 2023


College graduates struggle in job search

In 1931, James Truslow Adams coined the term “The American Dream” in his study “The Epic of America.” The statement reminded Americans of the justice, liberty, fairness and equality that they were once promised after division from Great Britain. It was a reminder that they would never be oppressed again. The dream later changed to the “pursuit of happiness” and “freedom of speech” by Thomas Jefferson.

These two terms would give people the hope they needed to get through tough times, such as the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, but it causes people to wonder if this dream betrayed Americans of today. In a time when many individuals who did not attend college are now in their mid-40s to late 50s and have been laid off from their jobs, some may believe this dream has failed them.

The idea that hard work pays off is not always true, even more with the idea that if you attend college, you will be able to get a well-paying job once you graduate.

“I got lucky,” said finance senior Victoria Banjo. “Getting a job offer worth taking before I actually graduated is not common among many college graduates.”

According to a CBS News survey of 2,134 workers, only 47 percent of the surveyed reported to be working in their fields of study. This means fewer than half of the students surveyed were working anywhere close to what they attended college for. The survey also showed that 32 percent of college graduates reported never working in the field of their major.

Unlike Banjo, communication senior Aclesia Caraway said not only has she not been able to find a job in her career, but she has not been able to find a job that requires a college degree at all.

“I was raised on the idea that if you go to college and do well, that you will be able to get a good-paying job in your career of choice shortly after graduation,” Caraway said. “I was told that if I was to get good grades, stay out of trouble and network between my professors and peers, that I would have businesses waiting in line to hire me.”

Caraway is finding this to be false. She is graduating in May and has gone to several interviews, but she has not been able to find a job that pays enough to support her comfortably on top of paying her student loans.

“Unless I find a job soon, I will have to work in retail or maybe a restaurant so I won’t default on my student loans agreement,” she said.

Many college students and graduates are beginning to question the college process and its reliability of securing a promising future.

Health junior Osonwa Achilefu said he is concerned about his future after college.

“I know that I am only a junior and I have time, but I know many of my friends who had a better GPA than my current 3.2 when they graduated and were not able to find a job at all,” Achilefu said. “Some of my friends had to settle for either going back to school to buy them more time or just work at a job that they could have gone right into without their college diploma.”

Like Achilefu, other students around campus had the same concerns. Several upperclassmen students have expressed that they have second-guessed their decision to come to college. Many students expressed that if they are going to be in debt after graduation and are not going to be able to find an ideal job, there may be no point.

Others are not so concerned with the amount of debt that they will be in after college, but they said their field of work does not require a college degree.

“The only reason I decided to come to college was because it was what my family had always drilled into me my whole life,” said broadcast journalism graduate student Eunice Dadebo. “Most individuals (who) host their own TV show did not go to school in order to obtain their careers.”

College is not always a waste of time, though I do believe it could be for some graduates. A high school algebra teacher once told me a story about when she had to have a plumber come out to her home for some maintenance. She said the plumber, who had never taken a college course, made almost twice as much than she did.

I think people should stop encouraging the ideology that if you do not go to college, you will not be successful. Many people in my parents’ generation are having trouble finding jobs because they did not attend college, but my generation is having trouble getting jobs because the job market has been saturated with college graduates who have no idea what they want to do with their degree.

We encourage individuals to go to college and get any degree instead of going to a trade school because they know what they want to pursue in life. Everyone is not made for college.

The American Dream says the people of America have the right to the pursuit of happiness. If we understand that not everyone’s dream is to attend college, we will be a better nation.

Opinion columnist Derail Texada is a broadcast journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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