McCallie Blog

Twentysomethings: "STUCK"

Posted by Billy Faires on October 20, 2011

"we had a PC education—people tried to hide from us as long as possible that not everyone is equal
we were told we all have a fair chance of making it
that’s just not so
and we’re starting to realize that"

A piece this week in New York Magazine entitled "The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright" is eye-opening and depressing, and the author was interviewed yesterday on "Morning Joe." (Warning: The author is a 20-something in New York writing about 20-somethings; ergo, her article contains numerous expletives.)

Forty-five percent of young adults (ages 16-29) are currently unemployed, the highest percentage since World War II, according to the article. If you are a current college student, consider your roommate. Statistically speaking, one of you won't have a job -- possibly for years -- after you graduate, but you'll likely have plenty of debt.

This is the environment into which this current generation of students must trudge, and there is a lot of (understandable) hand-wringing about the parent/educator part in it.

 

On the show, Author Noreen Malone offered some powerful observations about being a 20-somthing in the 21st Century:

"These are people who worked very very hard all throughout high school and college, invested a serious amount of time and money -- they have a crushing burden of debt. They really bought into the idea that if you work hard and work for your chances, it will eventually pay off. And all of a sudden it looks like, OK, it's not going to pay off now, and it's not going to pay off in the future, which is pretty alarming."

Joe Scarbrough offered this observation:

"We are talking about middle class, upper middle class, and elite kids, who grew up with just about everything in the '90s, went to some of the best schools. The kids that weren't getting jobs in the '90s may have gone to community college or no college at all. Now you have kids graduating from Ivy League schools who can't find jobs."

In other words, many of those struggling are the products of high-quality, independent school educations, students who did remarkably well in both high school and college. These students didn't necessarily expect a free ride so much as they assumed they would have the opportunity to at least get in line to buy a ticket.

These students didn't necessarily expect a free ride so much as they assumed they would have the opportunity to at least get in line to buy a ticket.

Another younger commentator at the table offered this:

"I will say the word 'entitled.' I think a lot -- in our generation -- feel a sense of entitlement. We have been handed things when we were children that our parents could never take for granted. And we've gotten good educations. I know some people, actually, who put off going into the job market because they couldn't find the job they wanted and instead have gone to a law school, and in the process they end up getting more and more debt that they have to pay off. A lot of that is what you see with 'Occupy Wall Street.' They have been handed this dream of what my life would look like, and now I'm saddled with debt, and who do I have to blame for it?"

Ms. Malone's conclusion, especially regarding the "Occupy Wall Street" movement (if it can be called that).

"That's a characteristic of our generation. If you look at the protest movement... what we want is a chance to show up and  put on a suit and a tie. That's not a radical thing. That's not what they were protesting against in the '60s, and I think that's pretty telling."

For other fascinating education-related articles and links, be sure to check out The Daily Riff!

Topics: decisions, economy, college, education, goals, Posts from the Ridge, spotlight