A Commentary on Life Post-Graduation

Hello readers!

After quite a long hiatus, I’ve decided to continue this blog, now writing from the perspective of one who has recently graduated, and has joined the good ‘ol American workforce (complete with $460 withheld from my first paycheck by the government in taxes). Over the next couple posts, I’m going to be commenting on a few points regarding trends in higher ed and the workforce, but first I’m going to do the narcissistic thing and talk about ME.

For those of you who don’t know me, I graduated in May from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double BS (take that as you will) in Molecular Biology and History (with a certificate in Religious Studies thrown in there somewhere). 4020 others received undergraduate degrees with me, 27 of them in Mol. bio and 210 in History. Roughly 30% of the graduates had multiple majors.

I graduated with $12,000 in student loan debt, despite working at least 3 jobs for my last 3 years to pay for school, and coming in with $20,000 in scholarships. Going off of the latest data released from 2010, and barring no major changes, 47% of people graduating with me have student loan debt kicking in around November, with an average debt above $21,000.

Right after graduation *thankfully* I landed a job as a Quality Control Lab Analyst at Ion Torrent Systems, a DNA sequencing company in San Francisco, unlike 13% of other “recently graduated” Generation Y’ers and Millenials that can not find work or have recently been laid off within 8 years of graduating college. The job pays pretty well, and I can’t be in a more awesome location, unless of course I had an unlimited supply of spotted cow and Wisconsin cheese curds here (side-note, happy cows DO NOT come from California, they’re all skinny and dirty here and do not roam free in luscious hillside pastures as they do back home).

Anyway, Im going to wrap up this self-serving post that you’ve probably stopped reading already by saying three things. 1) The economy sucks and the unemployment rate is high and highest for young adults 2) If you are graduating college in the next few years you’ll most likely graduate in debt and the debt will likely be equal to the amount of half your starting salary, and 3) I’m doing great! There are ways as students and as young adults to get through this jobs crisis, and as our generation becomes the power brokers, WE will be the ones to look back at what we have survived, and be able to make better choices for those that follow after us.

Thank you, dear readers, for spending a little bit of time to get re-acquainted with this blog, and I hope you come back for more in depth ruminations about the jobs market, education and education debt, and life after the wonderful 4-5 year pit-stop that is the college experience. See you soon!

-CF

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