Break on Through To the Other Side
The kids that grew up during the Great Depression lost their way. They had faith that the economy would get better, and it did. With the advent of World War II, America’s economy flourished and these kids later became labeled “The Greatest Generation.”
Today, college-educated students face similar hurdles: higher unemployment, mounting debt, rising costs and fewer opportunities.
We know them far too well.
Graduates from prestigious schools everywhere find that they are locked out of their chosen field of work. Forced instead to take up dead-end jobs that do not even require a bachelor’s degree, they watch every day as their prospects vanish one after the other. Some wait it out. They cling persistently to the hope that the economy will rebound and their dreams will be returned back to them.
So, this is our inheritance. As Generation Y, those who grew up inseparable from the World Wide Web , who grew up in the wake of the economic collapse, who grew up with the reassurance from our parents and peers that we would “be someone,” we must not falter from the path we have chosen for ourselves.
Our predecessors inform us that our dreams are not real.
We all don’t really want to become lawyers, or businessmen, or doctors. We are just children that do not know what we want. And in a way, that is true. Some of us do not know of the long hours, the sacrifices and the regrets of an occupation and blindly seek it, but most of us know the facts. We see their doubt, and bet everything on the idea that they are wrong.
We cannot become risk-averse, but doing nothing is the greatest risk of all. With the carefree attitude that “all will be well,” the number of highly-educated graduates that have stopped looking for jobs altogether is on the rise. We should not be adequately satisfied deferring our vision of the future. No matter how true it is that opportunities are all around us, they will not all fall into our laps. In the age when a college diploma does not set you apart from the other 61 million people, an Emory education needs to mean more than just an academic education. Some of us still don’t know that we have to make opportunities happen for ourselves. In order to stand out, what do we need to become? As job seekers, we need to know the difference between how we look to employers and how we should look to employers.
We cannot call ourselves victims of the Great Recession anymore. Who cares if our educational system has failed us? Who cares if the American dream is dead? Whether or not we personally reach our goal has little to do with the circumstances; it has never been about luck. Stay intolerant to the hand dealt to us, and when the opportunity arises, we better not fold.
Frank Wang is a College freshman from Verona, N.J.