I had a very emotional conversation with a single mother of three, who called to talk about feeling guilty for pursuing a graduate degree. The process of finding suitable employment was not an easy one. The pay for her current position was at the poverty level and didn’t match what she was making before she enrolled in graduate school.
She cried while discussing the struggle that she was having finding a job, and feeding her family. She mentioned the financial stress that she faced each month, while trying to remain current on her student loans, rent and after her children’s daycare program fees. She lamented and cried over her decision to listen to the advice of others who persuaded her to pursue a graduate degree.
I listened with an attentive ear and tried to convince her that working at a lower paying job and struggling to find her dream job did not make her a failure. I, also tried to reassure her that her future would look brighter in time. That approach led to her realization that she was turning forty in a few months, and that she didn’t have that much time to waste on her career goals.
There are many post-graduation students who find themselves in similar situations. Their college degree is not worth the paper that it was written on, or so it seems in a high unemployment economy. Perhaps, some of what they are saying is true in an ever changing technologically based world? Should students continue to buy into the idea that a college education is the best way to catapult their careers? What would you tell your student who finds him or herself in a similar situation?
Should we prepare students for the harsh reality of unemployment and debt after they complete their degrees?
Post your comments below and tell us what you think!