It’s all a part of the American dream; something that’s been pounded into our heads since we were little kids: graduate high school, go to college, get a good paying job & climb the corporate latter.
I believed the hype and I was determined to get a piece of the American pie. I graduated high school, graduated college with a BA in communication and technology but getting that good job with great pay was harder than expected. Even with an overflow of recommendations from the supervisors that oversaw my internship, that great paying job didn’t seem to come. Instead, I noticed people with far less accolades getting these jobs because they had more “experience”. So there I was working a customer service job, making a few dollars above minimum wage with $67,000 in student loan debt. After awhile, I got fed up with situation and did some research.
I found a few things:
- Black women have the highest college enrollment rate in American in both race and gender
- The unemployment rate of millennial graduates (born 1980-2000) is 44% according to 2014 census
- Most college graduates die still owing student loan debt
It was a relief to know I wasn’t alone but that relief didn’t last long because I still had creditors knocking on my doors for their money back and the butterflies’ began to dance in the pit of my stomach. A little too late, I came to a conclusion that college wasn’t for me. College for the “baby boomer” generation was the best choice. However; my generation was steadily shifting into the information age. I was too young to understand what that actually meant. It meant and still means with the advancements of technology jobs will become more obsolete and more people will turn to entrepreneurship. Smaller businesses also mean fewer jobs will be available. And did I forget to mention we’re Black….(yes, I said it). We’re Black so that means the job selection is cut down even more.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO DO IT, DO IT THE RIGHT WAY
I have a 14 year old step-daughter. I was actually younger than her when my mom and grandmother started instilling the values of college into my young mind. But I don’t do that with her. Instead, my husband and I push the importance of entrepreneurship and the importance of creating her own opportunities. But that’s not saying college is bad. College isn’t bad but it should be used the right way. There is a reason people join Ivy League schools and sororities/fraternities. The reason is networking. Making connections with the right people who can get you those great paying jobs is what the college experience is about. “It’s who you know to get you the door and what you know to keep in the door.” ~Unknown
With my on-line education, networking was far and few-in between so I didn’t have anyone to call to get me an interview at the biggest Public Relations firm in my area. After being rejected countless times, I decided to be the person to know to get you into the door. I decided to stop waiting for someone to give me an opportunity that I knew I deserved. I got angry because I worked my butt off for four years while working two jobs, thinking I would put myself in a better opportunity. Instead, I put myself in $67,000 worth of debt. I decided my minimum wage wasn’t enough for me and that I was going to make a change.
I value my education and diploma. I’m the first in my family to graduate college and I also understand that it takes willpower and determination to stick with something all those years. I also learned a lot in college but the funny thing is I’ve learned more just by going to my local library or doing research on-line and picking the brains of entrepreneurs who have successful businesses. So if you’re deciding to go to college or you have children who want to go to college make sure you/they know what they are actually going for.
Author: Toni Larue
Read her bio on the team page Maya’s Blog Team
Check out her page on Toni’s Facebook Page
Photo Credits & Source:
Erica van Engel, Author at Differeve, coaching and consulting for social entrepreneurship. (2015, July 22). Retrieved from http://differeve.com/author/erica/