By Debbie Lechtman Fachler > Sophomore > Syracuse University > Magazine Journalism
For generations of Americans, a college degree meant one thing: a better job. So, without thinking twice, they took outrageous student loans and fell deeper and deeper into dept with the reassurance that once they graduated, they would break into the career of their dreams – or at least find a job that could bring home the bacon.
Today, according to USA Today, the loans are greater and the debts are larger, but the percentage of college students is higher than ever.
Unfortunately, it is time for college students to get real: the economy is not looking too hot these days and if you are graduating soon, neither are your job prospects. In 2008, recent graduate employment rates dropped up to 20 percent. While they have improved slightly, there is no guarantee that you will get a job right after graduation, even with an excellent GPA and a bunch of great internships under your belt.
“The idea of not finding a job by the time I graduate definitely scares me,” says Mina Nous, a senior international relations major at Syracuse University. “I have loans to pay off, so I’m trying to look at all my options. I might have to make peace with the fact that, at least at first, I might have to get a job in a field separate from my major.”
Before you panic, keep reading. What are your options? College Magazine takes a closer look.
First, consider your major
The prospects are not so grim for some majors. For example, pharmacists and engineers are in high demand, as are many careers related to computer science. According to Middlesex County College Career Services, it is a good idea to major in a program related to a fast-growing industry.
“I decided to pursue pharmacy school because I know I will find a job that pays well,” says Andrew Beseda, a sixth year student at Albany College of Pharmacy.
Get a job elsewhere – at least for a while
If you cannot find a job related to your major, working a different job for some time is nothing to be ashamed of. It may not pay as well as you would like, but it should help you get on your feet and start paying off student loans. Just remember to always be on the lookout for job opportunities in your field. Stay persistent and do not give up.
Get an internship
Many recent grads become interns for companies where they would like to work. This may not pay the bills, but it will put you on your boss’s radar and you will be the first person he or she thinks of when a new job position opens up. Getting an internship post-graduation is risky business, of course, because there is no job guarantee.
Start your own business
Back in the day, a normal job was considered safe and entrepreneurship was risky. These days, the tables have turned – somewhat. If your idea is good and you execute it well, you may start to turn a profit.
Need an example of a young entrepreneur who has made it work? James Barrett, a sophomore at Syracuse University and founder of James Barrett Co., a company that sells and designs high-end graphic T-shirts.