Tuition Rises, Salaries Don't

September 14, 2018

At this point, it's safe to say that most people know that college is important. I wholeheartedly agree and I am not saying to not get an education. But one of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear people much older than me talking about why college is so important to young people these days.

News flash:

Having just a Bachelor's degree doesn't do much for you anymore.

Sure, when Mr. So-and-So went to college in 1973, it was important. It extensively advanced your career and widened your options. Today, however, that is no longer the case.

  • The job market is incredibly competitive. Everyone has a college degree. Everyone had good part-time job experience and an internship in college. You have to go above and beyond above and beyond to be successful.
  • The pay is disproportionately low in comparison to the cost of a college education. Students have to go into debt - even students at "cheap" schools like my alma mater - just to barely make ends meet upon graduation. Yes, some people may be able to get scholarships and/or well-paying jobs while at college, but again, these are incredibly competitive. Those aren't realistic options for most.
  • Even when pursuing a lucrative degree, for example, accounting, there is no guarantee that you'll find a job that pays what you deserve in the field that you studied.
  • Most jobs require a Master's degree or more - jobs that current employees are working, who received less education than that themselves. This is not to say that they aren't qualified, but they just happened to luck out in timing, having been born before so much was required of potential employees.
  • A lot of available positions want you to have a degree and X years of experience. It's difficult to get experience when you can't even get a job without having experience in the first place.
  • The earnings gap between those with a college degree and those without may be higher than ever, but there is no guarantee that having a Bachelor's won't lead to you working at Old Navy while still job searching six months after graduation (speaking from experience here).
So, to those who are well established, who have been working longer than we have been alive, who didn't face these difficulties:
Count your blessings.

And please, recognize how difficult it is for us now.
I'm sure that some people may read this post and assume that I'm lazy or entitled, but as someone who worked two jobs and did three internships simultaneously one summer in college, just months after experiencing the death of my sister and the intense grief that came along with that, I'd like to argue that I did my best. Oh, and yeah, I was taking classes then too. I thought I was doing above and beyond what was necessary.
And now, as a college graduate, I work a full-time, 8-5 job. I monetize this blog (feel free to click any ads to help a sister out). I am a freelance résumé coach. I have an Etsy shop and do other freelance graphic design work as well. I just got accepted into a content writing internship. I have a million side projects that I focus the little energy I have left on each night because I need to be doing more. Like I said, what I did in college was inevitably not enough. My career is not where I want it to be and I can't change anything until I become better, because my degree no longer is sufficient.

As someone who has worked at three different institutions of higher education, it's safe to say that I know the importance of an education. If you don't have some form of higher education or technical training, you are less likely to be happy. You are less likely to be healthy. These days, it is beyond difficult to have a career without having finished school first.

There are a million statistics that I could throw at you, but the most important one is this:
Tuition continuously rises, and salaries do not.

So it seems pretty unfair to me that college is essentially a requirement to function as a human being, but it is not a guarantee that you will. Something needs to change.

Yours truly,

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