It was not the life I planned, but it was the life I feared. Graduating college with loads of debt and job prospects that were no better than what I could have gotten straight out of high school.
I rarely thought of these things during my university years which ran from the mid to late 80s. Instead, I escaped into my studies, compassionate ministries, student government and friends. I spent hours in the college library, which makes it very hard to explain the astonishing number of book fines I received. But, so it goes.
And, this is how it went. I read hundreds of books and periodicals, and I wrote dozens of papers. I was mostly bored with formal learning. It was something I tolerated because I could not disappoint my father by failing to graduate. There were two things he demanded from his children: chastity and education.
Every semester I found a new fascination. Sometimes it carried over from one year to the next, and some interests defined my entire college experience. There were semesters I poured over holocaust literature; the 10,000 day war that was Vietnam and Russian Orthodoxy.
I wished sometimes I was the kind of person who just went to college and became a nurse or a teacher. But, I couldn’t allow myself to become decidedly anything.
My first job out of college would have been a dream if not a miracle for any of the millions of Chinese working in those iPad factories with bars to prevent laborers from leaping to death. I was paid 50 cents above minimum wage, but I realize this is a problem anyone in a third world country would love to have.
Still, I went to college and got a degree — something fewer than 7 percent of people in the world have. But, I, along with my Generation X classmates graduated into an economy marked by a sharp rise in joblessness. According to a report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics in 1988 unemployment rose from 4.8 to 7.9. This trend continued through 1991.
Today, things are much worse for Generation Y. The most educated generation in history must weather mass unemployment…