It’s safe to say that all undergrads are concerned about their prospect of employment following graduation. Statistically speaking, four out of five university graduates in the United States do not have a job lined up for them once they receive their degree. According to the Labor Department, the United States is currently at an overall unemployment rate of 6.3 percent, the lowest it’s been since September of 2008.
Even though there are signs that, as a country, there are more jobs available, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be employed. There is a stigma that unless you are studying the traditional sciences, business or engineering, you will not have a “real” job following your college career.
The negative connotations that surround having a humanities, liberal arts, or art degree is what deters many students from pursuing the goals that they have a genuine interest in; the idea that there is an exclusive market and availability to jobs that correlate directly with the majors under these disciplines is off-putting to some. It can be argued that what we get a degree in has no relevance to the type of jobs we’ll be employed in after graduating, but what we choose to dedicate four additional voluntary years of education is for a reason. Some of us are here studying because we happen to come from families that a university education is an expectation, while others are here to so after they graduate they can help provide for their families.
Discerning between our wants and personal aspirations and the needs and realities of where we come from is a decision that some students are fortunate enough to not have to make, but for others, it’s a luxury that they can’t afford. If you happen to be the child of immigrant parents, you are aware of the struggles and sacrifices that were made in order for you to be going to college.
And whether or not having a job to go to immediately following graduation is of extreme importance — regardless of what situations have brought us to where we are — it is a very real concern that we will not be able to provide for ourselves after spending four years and thousands of dollars of tuition fees. We regret that we didn’t take full advantage of the opportunities that were presented to us during our time as students so that we had a way to fill up our resumes with worthwhile and attractive involvements.
Whether we like it or not, our lives slowly become more and more enabled (or disabled) by the amount of money we have, which unless you are partial to theft and robbery, is attained primarily through employment. And whether the motivation to get a degree in order to get to a certain career or position is drive by ambition or by the need to survive, we’re very aware that having an undergraduate degree can sometimes not be enough as more and more people are realizing how difficult it can be to uphold a certain standard of living. What we choose to pursue is not the sole determining factor of whether we will be able to find employment, but that decision holds more weight with current undergrads than it ever has.
Nashra Anwer is a second-year international studies major and can be reached at email@example.com.