Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Specs in the City: Why Our Degrees will Never be Worthless

    You don’t have to tell college seniors that the job market is rough—trust me, we know. We’ve known since you knew, actually. Ever since about 2008 when we all watched the economy shrivel and crumble.

    From that moment forward, I was advised away from journalism. It won’t work, people told me. Journalism is dead.

    But journalism is far from dead, and my education in this field is far from worthless. In fact, I believe up and coming graduates are some of the most well-prepared people to storm into the work force.

    Since the recession, my generation has been faced with a very unique task—how do we adapt to, not only a changing job market, but really a changing culture? We, arguably more than anyone before us, have the biggest challenge of turning our studies, knowledge and degree into something tangible within a culture of technology, entrepreneurialism and constant change.
    And we are facing these changes with an impeding sense of doom from older generations.

    We have been barraged with popular thought lamenting the “demise of the humanities”—as though this area of study is a willowy, ghost of the past; something fading from importance and relevance as we develop into more intelligent, more sophisticated fields of study. We have sifted through media and Buzzfeed articles about our certain failing futures. We have been thwarted with negative public opinion on the value of college at all. Society has painted us a picture of the unemployed college grad dinking around on their guitar in the dim basement of their parent’s house, surrounded by overpriced textbooks and endless amounts of debt; their worthless diploma hanging crookedly on the wall.

    But, the thing is, we are a generation that has been trained to adjust.

    My degree is worth something because being in college is the only thing teaching me about how to adapt to the economic and social changes around me.

    Regardless of field of study, we are needing to acclimate. The world is changing. The way we do and understand science and discovery changes over time. Being a businessman or economist means something different now than it did ten years ago. Digital design and marketing now have a whole new realm of social media to navigate. Journalists must adhere to new expectations of media and technology. It isn’t easy, but we’re doing our best. And honestly, we could use a bit more encouragement. Because a lot of young graduates are coming up with a lot of really cool things.

    Naysayers call it reckless, I call it innovation.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker spends about 4 years at each job—that was reported two years ago. By now, that time is even smaller, with the so-called “Millennials” staying with a job for less than three years on average.

    This life as a “free agent” can have a heavy financial burden—apparently we have worse financial security than any other generation in the past half-century, according to Forbes. But who is to say we aren’t finding happiness and success and worth in our own, sporadic, job-hopping way?

    I have known from the day I started enjoying writing that I was most likely not bound for a six-figure paycheck. Somehow, though it may be a surprise to some of you, I still found value in pursuing my journalism degree. Keep your six-figure, desk-job. I’m okay being a bit more innovative. Or, should I say, reckless?

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    Colleen Fontana, Author

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