As I was getting ready for classes one morning, I was listening to Matt Lauer interview Tom Brokaw on the Today Show. I was not paying much attention until I heard a quote from Tom Brokaw’s new book “The Time of Our Lives: A Conversation About America.” “College graduates are moving back home because they can’t find a job and trust their families and don’t trust society.” What I heard Tom Brokaw say made me stop and think for a moment, and realize how dismal the state of the economy is right now.  I grew up in a house where the importance of college was always discussed. The reason being, a good college education would guarantee a good paying job. Times have changed. The order for most of us was to graduate high school, attend college, graduate and then enter into the “real world” and start the next chapter of our life. Many post graduates are finding it extremely difficult to find a decent paying job ,let alone a job in their specific field. This being said, being able to live on your own with the expectation of getting a raise has become less of a reality. Therefore, the new reality is the possibility of having to move back home with ones parents because the cost of living has become high.

    There was a time when one might of had a dream to “make it” in this world so that they could have more then their parents and to one day provide for their future families. I could not imagine the emotional and mental effects that that could have on an individual to graduate and then have to move back home with his/her parents.  I feel the question now is moving back home to ones parents house a step backwards in life or the new reality? If graduates are moving back home then does this delay things like getting married and starting a family? Our generation needs to set the foundation for the future generations. How will they survive and make it in this world if we can hardly make it. Another impact of graduates moving back home is on the parents of these individuals. I’m sure in the beginning the parents are thrilled to have their adult child back under their roof but once the novelty wears off a number of questions and concerns can arise. Will my adult child who has graduated be motivated to move back out on their own? Will they feel like a failure in society?

    Another demographic effected are the current high school students. Many have seen first hand how the state of the economy has effected their parents and communities around them.  Parents who have anticipated a four year college education plus graduate school may now be looking at community colleges or vocational schools where their child can still live at home to cut back on expenses. I am fortunate enough that while going to college I am already living on my own and supporting myself.

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3 responses

  1. I have been worried about this problem before I even entered college! My parents, aunts, and uncles have been consistently warning me since my junior year of high school that in today’s economy being just a college graduate is not enough. You need to have multiple degrees or specialties and have a back up plan just in case. Employers are looking for workers who are a lot more skilled and in multiple areas so that they can minimize the number of employees they have to hire. Today’s economy is one of the reasons why I am planning to pursue a career as a doctor. Doctor’s are always in demand world wide no matter how bad the economy is so I feel as though the extra 4 to 5 years in medical school will be worth the trouble when I don’t have to move back in with my parents and I am given a secure job to support myself and my future family with.

  2. I’m dealing with living at home during school and know several people who have had to move home after finishing undergrad because of student loans etc. I think the concern should not be that of whether or not it will delay traditional customs, like entering into marriage later, but rather the economic ramifications. I think we have all come realize that 23 is the new 17 and that most of us will get big-kid jobs, as I call them, later than our parents. I think one way to make this time in college more effective would be if it was encouraged for students graduating from high school to take a Gap Year–a year off between high school and college. I think a lot of time is wasted by pushing teens into college and not allowing them time to contemplate and plan their future. I was a Junior and Senior once and know that you barely have time to think how major the decisions you are about to make. Living at home is just one way to show our society’s delayed adolescence.

  3. I cannot say that I have had the same experience of my parents nagging me about the competitive economy but they did suggest a job that pays highly even at entry level aka a nurse. I changed my major and am now a psychology major. My father compares me to my cousin’s wife in Ukraine, who is also a psychologist, but works as a manicurist. In retrospect, I think that I will be living with my parents after I graduate from college. In regards to the requirement of more than a college graduate degree, it seems to me that just working the grill at McDonald’s requires a masters. Of course I am over exaggerating, but I think you can agree that over the years, the degree requirements for all jobs has gone up.