Feeling the Squeeze: How Arcadia is Feeling the Economic Crisis

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2008 at 10:59 pm

For the most part college students expect to be poor. We understand that while we are off earning our degree we might have to drive a hand me down car, wait until Christmas to update our wardrobe, or settle for Ramen  noodles instead of a night out.

This is all part of the trade off we make for our future, because after we graduate, we expect to be able to make enough money for the things we want.  But with the economy in the state it is now, many students are starting to wonder if the grass is actually greener on the other side. Instead of preparing for a lucrative career in the workforce, many Arcadia students are wondering if they will even be able to land an entry level position coming out of college.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers these last few months have shown ominous signs for college grads. There was a decreased expectation in college hiring across almost all sectors of the economy in the months of August, September, and October. The only sector that saw a rise in hiring was government.
For some students, this bleak outlook has made them turn to graduate school as a way to wait out the troubled economy while developing a specialty to use for a job upon graduation. The problem with graduate school is that it adds another two years of college debt to many students that are already in the red financially.

“I’m thinking I’m going to have to work a year since I can’t afford to go to grad school,” says Arcadia senior Alex Timmons. For Timmons and others graduating this year, they feel that grad school might be the best option, but it is a costly one. “Grad school is my ultimate goal, but we don’t always get what we want,” adds Timmons.

Other seniors are looking to go into high paying jobs in medicine or law. Mark Keller is a biology major looking to get into medical school after graduation. “I’m going to medical school right after, so there will always be jobs there unless things get so bad where they have to start closing hospitals,” says Keller. “My big concern would come if I didn’t get into med school and then trying to get a job in the mean time.”

According to a recent ABC News  article, some college graduates can hope to slip into vacant spots left by retiring baby-boomers.  The article points to positions for students with Engineering and other applied science degrees as being sought after currently, despite the state of the economy. For those at Arcadia where there is not even a Physics degree offered, let alone Engineering, many students wonder if a degree in English, History, or some other social science will be able to land them a job.

“I’m worried about getting a job with any relevance to why I went to school,” says sophomore Political Science major, Chelsea Christiansen.  Christiansen and fellow underclassman, junior Christie Shaub, are worried even if they have a year or more until graduation.

“I’m $52,000 in debt, and I currently plan to go to grad school, so I don’t know how I’m going to pay for loans,” says Shaub. In addition to their worries about getting a job and student loans, both students saw their college funds almost disappear because of huge losses in the stock market. Shaub estimates her loss at around $13,000.

Perhaps some of the students most nervous about graduation are those that chose the Arts as a field of study. Although Art majors were never known for making huge salaries right out of college, things are starting to look especially bleak in today’s economic environment.

Senior Angela Kent is an Interior Design major graduating in May. “Just last summer trying to get a simple job at a restaurant was hard because a lot of older people were looking to pick up a second job to pay the bills,” says Kent. “Interior Design is already a hard job to get because it’s so competitive, but [with the economy] it’s already hard to get any job.”

Senior art education major Nicole Polizzi has similar worries. “With a lot of schools’ art budgets being cut, it’s going to be difficult,” says Polizzi. “I’m not trying to worry about it yet, I have another semester to come back to,” adds Polizzi.

To be sure, anxiety is natural among seniors no matter what the state of the economy, but the current situation only adds to the stress. Banking on the retirement of baby-boomers seems like a long-shot, and unless you are one the few students lucky enough to be interested in a job with the government, the best many of us can do is hope for some improvement between now and May. Until then we might just have to start getting used to the idea of driving that beat up Honda or Toyota and eating that steady diet of Ramen noodles.


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