Educated and Jobless

By Marianne Brigola, Career Fellow 2011-2012

Things have been really crazy over here for Ashley and I. We’re both getting more one-on-one appointments with students, continuing to co-facilitate Transition Strategies classes, continuing with Student Life programming and Elon 101 presentations, as well as helping out over in the Love School of Business. Things have been exciting but quite hectic. We’re going to be helping out with some great events over the next few weeks so keep an eye out for some new blog entries about them!

Until then, here’s another news article to tide you over. This from NPR, entitled “Educated and Jobless: What’s Next for Millennials” was very interesting! It’s talks about how the challenges college graduates are facing as they leave school and attempt to start their careers. Too often, many college students are graduating with record-breaking amounts of student loan debt and yet struggling to find jobs in this tough economy.

I thought the article was interesting because it highlight’s one student’s experience, in which she researched potential careers’ job outlook, stress levels and potential earnings to determine her major. As a result, she is now working as an actuarial analyst, although she initially considered majoring in music. The article states, “…very few students choose a career…with cold, calculated cost benefits analysis.”

It got me thinking… as a career development counselor, I want to encourage my students to pursue their passions–what are they excited about, what matters to them, what values are important for them. And yet when we consider the economy, the job market–are we really doing them justice by focusing on that rather than the reality of life after college–what it’ll be like to find a job, earn enough to support yourself, pay off your student loans etc. How can we help students find the balance between pursuing their passions and dreams and recognizing the importance of their work-related values, helping them to develop more realistic expectations about potential careers after college?

Although I loved my experience in undergraduate and I truly appreciate the education I received as an English major, I can’t count how many times over the past 6 years I’ve thought to myself, “I should have gone into nursing.”  I can’t say that if I could go back I would choose another major–I’m passionate about my work as a career counselor and I love my job–but sometimes I do find myself thinking how things would be different if I had chosen to go into something I wasn’t necessarily passionate about but knew would be a good fit in terms of employment opportunities and job outlook. Something like nursing or engineering.

Anyways, just some thoughts. Be sure to check out the article. It’s nice because you can choose to read it or listen to the audio of it!

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