Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Graduate

Kaitlin Mahar

The diplomas are handed off to the graduates like batons from one generation of the rat race to the next. The tassels are twirled, the caps are thrown into the air, and, as soon as those optimistically-decorated hats hit the floor, the disorganized chaos sets it. These are no longer graduation caps, but rather, war helmets.

Once graduates are flung from their safety nets that are college campuses and out into the real world, all bets are off. It no longer matters what your major is or where you went to school. You are nothing but another, faceless résumé, just like the millions of other grads who have found themselves in the same dilapidated, debt-ridden boat. We can’t simply find a job we enjoy – the average student loan debt is $35,000, though many owe hundreds of thousands. Plus, with finding a place to live, food, car expenses, and so on. Our options are further slimmed down by potential employers’ demands that our résumés be supplemented by one to two years of experience for an entry-level position. Maybe it’s asking too much, but how exactly are we supposed to get a job to gain experience when we need experience? We have no choice but to expand our horizons, and apply to jobs that have nothing to do with our majors.

So, where do we end up? At McDonald’s, the one place our parents threatened us with should we not get our degrees.

Isn’t it painfully ironic that opportunities to make a living are least common in the land of opportunity? And yet, no matter how many statistics and studies explain that college does, in fact, cost our generation more money than the previous, or that those with a bachelor’s degree are now needing a master’s degree if they want to get ahead in the corporate world, those with the loudest voices refuse to acknowledge that the future of America is drowning in its own spit.

So what are we to do? Looks like it’s time for another anxiety attack.