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article imageOp-Ed: Funemployed — The rising cost of higher education and unemployment

By Samiyah Currimbhoy     Aug 28, 2014 in Lifestyle
Unemployment rates are higher in the U.S. than depicted in the media, and recent graduates (with excessive student loans) are struggling to find jobs in their fields.
My alarm goes off at 8:30 a.m. and I quickly realize it is Wednesday, and I am still jobless. I pick up my laptop placed delicately next to my bed and scan the open webpages for any new job postings. I see a few jobs I am interested in, draft cover letters, and attach my resumé. I add these posts to my ongoing Excel spreadsheet, and realize that I have applied to over 70 positions. It is now 11:20 a.m. This has been my life for the past three months.
Back in May, I graduated with a Masters degree from Columbia University. My degree is in an “emerging” field, and teachers and academic advisers alike assured me that finding work would likely be easy with my “experience and skill set.” Now, as I think back to my anxiety about passing Macro Economics, I realize that the real world, with bills and student loans, is far scarier than school ever was.
In June 2014, the unemployment rate in the U.S fell to 6.1 percent — the lowest figure in years (rising slightly to 6.2 percent in July). The Obama administration boasted that the economy is moving forward and new jobs are being created everyday. I was told that “job growth exceeded 200,000 for the sixth straight month in July, for the first time since 1997.” All of this assured me that if I submitted applications, attended networking events, and reached out to everyone I know, I would be able to find a career in my field in no time.
Then, earlier this week, the New York Times published an article titled A New Reason to Question the Unemployment Rate, which states that the unemployment rate has become less accurate over the past two decades, and is in fact higher than what is represented. This is partly due to “rotation group bias” and survey non-response. It is clear that the federal government must change the way the unemployment rate is calculated, but for now, what this means is that more people are out of work than previously thought, and the economy is not turning around as quickly as stated.
I then think about my prized $100,000 Ivy-League education, and how I must start repaying these loans (plus interest) soon. The exorbitant cost of college in our country means that students in the U.S are in over $1 trillion of student loan debt. College costs have risen 1,120 percent since 1978, while real wages have barely increased at all. I wonder if my education is worth it, but realize it is too late to question such things.
It is now 5 p.m., and I am done thinking. After all, I am only 25 years old and am told that I have my whole life ahead of me. This is a minor road bump, they say, and things will get better. I call some friends who are getting off work, and make plans for tonight. They’re paying, I joke. To hell with it — if I’m unemployed, then I may as well be Funemployed.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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