FIRST PERSON | As a teacher, I wonder about my students after they graduate. Most attend college, but others become successful business owners and trade workers without college. College's importance depends on one's career choice.
On May 17, 2012, it was reported that the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate for college students surpassing that of non-college students for the first time. The trend demonstrates difficulty for many people, college graduates or not, searching for full-time work.
I teach physical science and math to mostly ninth- and tenth-grade students in Jacksonville, Florida. When confronted with these statistics, I want to ensure that my students do not lose hope. I still believe that a college degree opens many opportunities, and those students who work hard to succeed will. They may have to work jobs out of their fields for a while, but the opportunities will eventually come. I explain that employers look for candidates with strong academic records, varieties of skills and willingness to work multiple areas. Employees with degrees do tend to earn higher salaries.
Drawbacks to college include the extensive workload. Relatively few full-time students work full-time jobs because of the class load. Therefore, many students have financial difficulty. College costs increase every year, so many borrow and have that debt after graduation. Some quit early and have the debt without the degree.
Considering the Bureau's report, I advise my students to plan carefully. Salary is important, but so is happiness in their careers. If they endure the work, then they will eventually reap the rewards. Those who struggle academically may enter other businesses. Today's unemployment rate affects all people regardless of college degree. I hope that the economy improves soon enough for everyone to have a better chance at securing full-time employment.