It has been a long month and a half since I graduated from Seton Hall University, and I am still yet to put that new diploma of mine to use in the "real world." This is not because I choose not to work -- I'm not one of those early 20-year-olds whose first priority after graduating is to go backpacking around Europe -- I've been job hunting for entry-level journalism positions to no avail since December. However, I'd be lying if I said part of me wasn't expecting this.
Multiple professors of mine over the past four years did try and prepare me for this tough job market. Almost all of them were teaching college classes because they were either laid-off or read the writing on the newsroom walls and decided to leave their longtime journalism jobs for the added job security adjuncting at a major university provides. Whether I was expecting this or not, the bottom line is that 1) it sucks 2) things are eventually going to better (I'm not holding my breath).
Making my period of unemployment all the more enjoyable has been the constant reminder I get of my limited health care coverage and the college debt of mine that my grandchildren will probably be paying off every time I turn on the news. I knew there were issues with both health care and the cost of college/the student loan situation, but with all the free time I now have I am realizing just how deep the issues are.
We are told at a young age (at least my generation was) that education is the most vital step in becoming a successful adult. If you are lucky, that path obviously leads up to some sort of college education. However, the cost of college these days can severely hinder the future success of someone who truly is a determined, hard worker. As a recent college graduate and the son of two hardworking baby boomers, not only do I not have prescription healthcare coverage, but the interest on my student loan bills is higher than that of the mortgage on my parent's house. Take a second and let that settle in.
What angers me more than the current system in place making it hard to succeed, is the attitude many older people have when it comes to both of these issues. The economy, jobs, your life goals, the world, and everything in it is different now than it was when you were able to work a job at 18 and put yourself through college, Mr. Retired 65-year-old Who Collects Social Security And Complains About Young Adults As If You Can Relate To Them. I, rightfully so, never hear young people saying they can relate to the financial issues older adults have (raising a family, living on fixed income, etc.), so reading/hearing the reverse is downright uncalled for.
Despite these issues, the truth is that my student loans are not going to pay themselves, nor do I expect the government to pay for them or my health care. Here's to hoping I can get hired somewhere soon so maybe I can pay off the student loans before my hair begins to gray.
Click here for examples of people expressing their feelings towards young adults and some great information on the student loan tragedy.