I struggle with this often.


It’s that article “1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed” by Hope Yen of the Associated Press.

Here’s the deal.

One side of me hopes that every college counselor — from Ivies to community college (we’ll not talk about those vampiric for-profit institutions) — strongly advises students there on loans to study something that will lead them to a career that hires and pays. STEM or healthcare (nursing), basically. Sometimes this isn’t possible because STEM and nursing are a lot of work and not always conducive to college-like fun, and sometimes it’s not possible because STEM and nursing requires some decent high school math / science + study skills. Leave the humanities to the rich kids whose parents can support them through years of unpaid internship where they have to doll up every day to enter the lottery, or whose parents can find a friend in industry to get them the career that they want. No no — be an engineer, and then you can do all the creative writing you want in your spare time.

The other side of me recoils at the thought of “leaving the humanities to the rich kids.” No! Everyone deserves to investigate the questions that interest her. This exploration cannot be left to the already-privileged, for if it is, the concepts and creations of humanity will still be crafted by the elite. 

Is that worse than some guy saddled with loans until his 50’s because he chose art school over engineering?

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