The Plight of the Modern Day College Student

7:40:00 PM

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What comes to mind when you think of your average college struggle? A minimum wage job? Merciless hours at the local bar working a double? Busy schedules that form the epicenter of the #teamnosleep squad? If you said any of those things, well you’d be right, but I’m here to tell you there is a new college struggle. One that has to do with that all too glorious 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper that hangs in your office in a $7 gloss black frame you bought from staples while shopping for sewing equipment for your grandma.
a busy student studying hard at the desk
There are struggles beyond just what people think of when they hear the term "college struggle"
So what is this struggle you might ask? What could be worse than my depleted social media hours due to my term paper on Louie VI?  The struggle I speak of can be summed up in one word. Frustration. Frustration over time, frustration over opportunity and frustration over lack of results. With the millennial age the college student, has access to a literal world of information at one simple “slide to unlock” screen. In the modern era of smartphones smart fridges smart TVs and smart *insert whatever you want here* we have gained access to information much earlier and much more frequent than past generations. Things that were only possible to learn in a classroom are now consumed daily simultaneously with our morning cup of coffee. Now as this does give us a concrete advantage over those that walked the path before us, it does however create a whole new set of problems.

With the massive uptick of information intake, society’s expectations have gone up. Self-expectation has gone up. With such extensive knowledge in your respected field and some job experience under your belt, you fight hard for an opportunity with your head held high. Phone interview after phone interview. You quickly throw on shorts along with a jacket and tie for you Skype interview in order to put on a mirage of professionalism. Only you are denied, time and time again by those three words. Three words that mean nothing, but mean everything to you. Three words that are the bane of your mediocrity. “Bachelor’s degree required”. It is the verbal punch in the gut after reading the description to a perfect job opportunity. An opportunity you know you would thrive at if given the chance. But alas “Bachelor’s degree required”.  You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. This conundrum has the collective blood of modern day college students and recent grads boiling nationwide.

If you can get past this metaphorically stonewall made of literal paper, then congratulations you only have one more major hurdle to climb. Your schedule. If you’re like me and have not yet graduated but have conjured a respectable resume, then I’m sorry to tell you your journey will be no less perilous. If employers demanding a piece of meaningless paper is the Emperor Plapatine of this evil empire they call the job market, than the very college you attend is Darth Vader. Yes, the one aspect that was going to portal you into the realm of a professional career is actually shackling your ankles. After all, you are a prisoner to its campus. Those three words suddenly replaced by just one. Availability.  You’d love to work 40+ hours learning new aspects of the field, honing your craft and yes, making money. Your employer isn’t likely to care that Programming 205 is only available at 2:15 in the afternoon Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sorry, next! The 52-year-old with the BS in bs is hired and your SOL. If you got lost in a sea of acronyms right there let me put onto you this statement. This quagmire raises a problem because not only are you losing out on what could have been a grand opportunity, but your would be employer may miss out on getting the harder worker and better man for the job.

What employers don’t seem to realize is you may take a risk hiring a college student or grad. You may end up hiring an immature narcissistic millennial with a sense of entitlement. Actually, if there is anything to say about statistics than you probably will. However, you may just hire a young gun with the intangible traits of ambition and drive. You can always teach a fast learning intelligent yet inexperienced employee, but you cannot teach a hunger for success.

So if you’re an employer reading this and you have a young man or woman who has just aced an interview but may be lacking slightly in some areas such as experience or availability. Given you are able to do so, give them a chance. Take a risk and you just may be rewarded with someone who appreciates the faith you’ve entrusted in them. You may just be rewarded with someone who works twice as hard as the experienced yet unmotivated older gent you settled for.

I should also take this time to give a quick PSA to my fellow millennials. If you are lucky enough to have such an opportunity thrown your way, don’t throw it away. We millennials are already given a bad rep for being a bunch of entitled spoiled brats. We are seen has a lazy bunch that do nothing but take selfies and Instagram everything to a bunch of strangers with the mindset that they’ve never seen a pumpkin space latte from Starbucks before. Be mindful of the risk that was just taken on you and show you can run with the best of them. Do so and it just may start a trend in the job market that may one day change the title of this article to “The Plight of Past College Students”.

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