The College Myth

We were told that if we walked this path we’d get to where we needed to go.

We were unleashed, wild and hungry, into an economy that had shriveled and tightened like a dried up sponge.

We graduated (like we were told we should) during the Great Recession. We threw up our hats and the stock market came down.

This has happened before. Yeah, we know. It doesn’t make it any better. If anything, that makes it worse. History exists partially as a reminder of what not to do, doesn’t it?

Anyway. We lie in the bedrooms we grew up in, lamenting our stunted growth.

We went to college, majored and double-majored in everything and anything. We even got advanced degrees thinking the extra time would help. It didn’t. We racked up debt that came back to collect too soon. So we offer up what we have, emaciated and bony, teeth clenched and nails bitten. It’s just enough to keep it at bay until next month.

You can tout whatever progress the economy has made all you want but the employment-population ratio is… well, it was better in 1998 and counting someone with a master’s degree¬†who is working in retail out of sheer necessity as ‘employed‘ is kinda sorta skewing the numbers, dontchya think? To your favor, I’m sure.

We take jobs, often more than one, where we’re offensively underpaid and underemployed. Yeah, we get it, work is work and there’s no shame in a job but pride alone isn’t going to pay back our loans. We were told getting a degree would somehow increase our value, even if the job we ended up getting had just about nothing to do with what we studied. This is the game, these are the rules, we played.


© Leila Chammas, November 18, 2016