The Real World vs The Taught World

Throughout our educational years, we have been taught by our instructors that we can become whomever we want to be, we can achieve any dream we wish to achieve, and we can have anything we want to have. Our educators encourage us to dream big, to never give up, and to strive for success by reaching the top of the ladder in society with hard work and dedication. We are pre-programmed to think the recipe to make our dreams a reality is a dose of perseverance, an ounce of faith, and a smidgen of determination is all that’s needed to make them come true…along with a good, quality education of course. But the one thing that is not taught is the fact that our perception of how things SHOULD be and the reality of how things WILL be are two separate entities, that if ignored, is the recipe for disappointment.

The depressing reality is: half of today’s college graduates are working in jobs that are not in their chosen field or may be overqualified for, are making less money than what they’re worth, and are sacrificing a majority of their hard-earned income into repaying student loans for an occupation they were told would put a substantial amount of money in their pockets in order to cover their post-education expenses. In a 2012 McKinsey & Company survey, along with the collaboration of Chegg, Inc., 4,900 college graduates expressed their regrets of what they envisioned reality to be like after four years of higher learning. 48% of U.S. college graduates were employed in jobs that did not require a four-year degree while 32% of graduates were actually working in their field of expertise. Out of the 72% of college graduates who were required to complete an internship in their chose field of study, only 42% reported their internships have landed them a job. This means either 30% of these college graduates were either out of work or underemployed.

As the competition stiffens within the workforce, so does the number of available jobs for college graduates decrease. Of course, this all depends on one’s major, with the visual and performing arts being the most difficult to break into while science, engineering, and technology provide the most satisfactory results for job seekers. But with today’s economy, even choosing the “right” major still does not guarantee a stable job. Higher education institutions overlook this fact when promoting idealizations of reality in exchange for a signed promissory note. What appears to be achievable through hard work, dedication, and persistence is not always what will be attainable in the end.

©2013 Learus Ohnine

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