Educated, Unemployed and Frustrated

25 Mar

A few days ago, I ventured over to the retirement community in my town where my grandmother lives in order to read the New York Times to my grandmother’s friend Sydney, a new resident in the community. Like many of the other residents there, Sydney has a difficult time seeing the words on the page, so my grandmother had suggested that I take the time to help her out. I was enthusiastic about the opportunity not only for the joy it would give me to have the time to volunteer in the community and connect to someone of the older generation, but also because I have realized how under-informed I am on current events. In general, I think that many college students are so busy writing papers and focusing on certain areas of knowledge that we are often unable to, or not used to keeping up on current events. I have therefore made it a goal of mine to educate myself more deeply on what’s going on out there in our world!

Although it initially took a bit of time to get used to reading aloud (which I hadn’t done since the days of “popcorn” reading aloud in grade school) with the right pace and pronunciation, I really enjoyed the experience. I could tell Sydney really really appreciated it too, and we have decided to make it a weekly event! Even after our half hour session, I immediately felt so much more enthusiastic about reading the printed newspaper, something that is becoming a forgotten art in our digital age. I also recommend the activity of taking time to meet with and read the newspaper aloud to an elderly person. Another layer and dimension is added when you are learning about the world alongside someone who has had decades of experience in it already!

Anyways, I had this sneaking suspicion that somewhere in the paper I would find an article that ties into this whole world of eduventurism- and sure enough I did! On the op-ed page I found an article written by a 24-year-old that compared the younger population in Egypt- whose high level of unemployment and resulting frustration was a huge factor in creating the recent revolution- to the young generation here in the US. Currently, the unemployment rate in the US for workers aged 16-24 is 21%, very close to what it is in Egypt. And if you think “oh, well I’m going to college and therefore will be able to easily get a job with my degree,” think again. The author, Matthew Klein writes:

“My generation was taught that all we needed to succeed was an education and hard work. Tell that to my friend from high school who studied Chinese and international relations at a top-tier college. He had the misfortune to graduate in the class of 2009, and could find paid work only as a lifeguard and a personal trainer.  Unpaid internships at research institutes led to nothing.  After more than a year he moved back in with his parents.”

This case is not unusual, I myself have heard many stories like this, and I’m sure many of you readers have as well. What in the past seemed like a system that would guarantee a job and stable future is now looking more like a slow to change system that is placing us in growing mountains of debt.

However, I don’t want to wallow in negativity, like the students in the comic above are. I am creating this project to look for alternative solutions, inspiring stories, and other members of our society who are ready to boldly stand up to this challenge. I say let’s change this crisis into an opportunity to be imaginative, creative, and indispensable!

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One Response to “Educated, Unemployed and Frustrated”

  1. Sky Stipanowich March 25, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Thanks, Weezie. Very thoughtful piece. Glad you are helping out Nana’s friend. Best wishes with all your endeavors!

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