The American Dream is the new American Struggle

“The American mythology that getting a good job requires a college degree is turning out to be a hollow promise, a mythology devoid of any connection to reality,” said John Lawrence in his article “Today’s College Graduates: In Debt and Unable to Find a Job.”

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An American student’s life is as similar as the old Dominican myth of a witch’s wedding day—a sunny day with spontaneous light showers, or a sun shower. It has its great advantages but it is not flawless—it comes with frustration, stress and desperation.

The “American Dream” of graduating from college, finding a great job with great pay, starting a family and living a happy and financially-stabled life isn’t that American anymore—in fact, I do not know in what culture that dream would be more likely to happen.  As a college student in one of the top schools in the nation, Penn State University, I am hoping to graduate and find a well-paying job in journalism, move up in the communications ladder and earn well enough to live well and pay my loans. The problem is that a degree doesn’t guarantee a job anymore and coming from a prestigious school might not be good enough to even get your resume printed out from the Human Resource’s database.

Nobody wants to graduate and move back home and work in a retail store with part-time hours with a bachelor’s degree. I mean, no offense to whoever enjoys retail, but if I wanted to work part-time for the rest of my life in H&M as a sales associate then I wouldn’t be studying abroad in Barcelona at the moment trying to become more competitive in the post-graduation “I need to find a job” field.

Going to a great and expensive school is a personal choice and that is something that I discussed carefully with my parents before I went through with it and at this point in my life, I do not regret it. It all comes down to the work you put in for the results you want to get in return. It is all about networking and experience and if you cannot do either, then your degree will mean nothing. But even having great experiences on your resume and even better networking skills can backfire on you.

So what is America doing wrong?

There is no way that millions of college graduates are all failures.  According to Lawrence, the 3.7 million job openings that are available require technical skills learned in a vocational school rather than in a prestigious “sitting in class and passing tests “ school.

Dr. Robert Schwartz, a Professor of Practice in Educational Policy and Administration at Harvard Graduate, said “We have a lot of evidence internationally that those education systems that combine workplace and classroom education for most young people from the age of 15 or 16 get better outcomes than those that rely solely on classroom learning.”  If this is the case, then why was I obligated to learn about calculus, the American Revolution and the reproduction system every day when all I ever wanted to do was work in journalism?

“America has set up a class system whereby you are a second class citizen if you don’t graduate from college,” said Lawrence. “Nowhere in the Constitution does it say anything about guaranteeing college graduates a job.”

A few quick things to think about:

Bill Gates: College dropout, Founder of Microsoft
Steve Jobs: College dropout, Founder of Apple
Mark Zuckerbeg: College dropout, Founder of Facebook

Do you see a pattern here? Do you know their net worth?
Good. I just wanted to get my point across.


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