Opinion

WALLY'S WORLD: Welcome to the world of higher education

Dear College fresh-man,

I’m sorry to hear you couldn’t find employment last summer. This isn’t unusual. As you’re surely aware, America is currently suffering through a rather severe recession and most of our students couldn’t find work during the summer months. Upon starting college, many of them, like yourself, turned to their families for financial aid, only to discover that parents can offer little, if any, help in these difficult economic times.

In response to your application for a $30,000 loan from this institution, I’m happy to inform you that your request has been approved. I clearly understand you may need additional funds before the school year is complete.

I feel compelled to warn you, if the U. S. economy doesn’t improved in the next few years, you’ll probably require further loans. By the time you graduate, you may owe the government more than $150,000 – and that’s not counting the expense of spring breaks in Cancun or Padre Island – and you still might not be able to secure employment. That’s especially true in your case;  there’s not a large demand for degrees in bull excrement spreading. The same might be said for degrees in fine art, sociology, psychology, history, philosophy or, indeed, any of the humanities or social sciences. If I were you, I’d seriously consider changing my major to mathematics or one of the hard sciences, like physics or chemistry. There’s still a high demand for engineers.  Especially software engineers.

Unfortunately, upon completing their bachelor degrees, many of our graduates still can’t find employment, so they chose to continue their schooling for a master’s degree. This isn’t always a wise decision. Many, if not most, graduates with a master’s still can’t find work, often times because they’re “over qualified.”  They can’t even get jobs at check-out stands at Safeway or Target. Making matters worse, they’ve borrowed more money for graduate school and now owe in excess of $200,000.

Still unemployed, some students chose to continue their education for a doctorate. If you’ll forgive my bluntness, this is rather stupid.   The additional schooling will increase your debt to more than $250,000 and you still won’t be able to find a job because about the only thing you can do with a doctorate is teach in a college or university and, believe me, that market is flooded – unless, of course, you have a doctorate in math or physics.

You might give serious thought to obtaining a college degree online, since that would be considerably less expensive. Of course, you’d miss out on the “total college experience”;  that is, the fraternities and sororities, the friendships, the coffee dates, the beer busts, etc. In past years, the social aspects of campus life were felt to be as important as the academics, but today they seem to be a luxury that merely allows you to prolong a carefree, irresponsible adolescent life for a few extra years.

Not only is online schooling less expensive academically, but also from a subsistence point of view. That’s particularly true if you can live at home with your parents, preferably without paying room and board. Furthermore, when you graduate and can’t find work, you won’t have to move back in with your parents because you’d already be there.

Many young people have decided college is no longer worth pursuing because most degrees aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. You might give some thought to a career in panhandling.

Sincerely,

Student Loans

Podunk  University

 

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