This month, four years of working on my Bachelor’s degree comes to a close. I have studied and planned for the future while carrying the weight of student loans and the stress of working while being a full time undergrad.
It’s been a difficult road. Like me, over 70% of full-time college undergraduates work jobs. 20% of these students work more than 35 hours a week. To be considered a full-time undergrad you must take at least 12 units per semester or quarter. Most universities recommend two or three hours of studying outside the classroom for every unit students are enrolled in. So your average full time student is expected to study for 24 to 36 hours weekly.
On top of that most college students get around 6 to 7 hours of sleep nightly. Let’s not even talk about extracurriculars.
Where are full-time college students supposed to fit in resume refining, applications and interviews?
So you’d think I’d be excited to walk away from all of this, carrying my degree. Instead, I am more stressed out and anxious than ever. In 2015, 71% of undergrads will leave university with $35,000 in student loan debt. And six months after they graduate, payments start being due.
So I need to start my career. Or maybe at least get a well-paying job that proves I earned my degree. For college students who do find the time for job searching before they graduate, two-thirds will get jobs in the fields they studied But only 42% of college graduates find jobs within six months of graduation.
By the time most Americans are 48 they have held around 11 different jobs.
So encouraging millennials to find their lifetime careers as soon as possible seems off base. Yet someone with a bachelor’s degree will earn about 62% more than someone with a GED, so being a college student is worth it in the long run.
I am up against the odds, odds I am constantly reminded of when people ask, “So what’s your plan after you graduate?” For the time being, help us college students out by not asking us questions we’ve already asked ourselves. I guarantee we lose more sleep trying to come up with an answer
With a perspective, I’m Naomi Outlaw.
Naomi Outlaw is leaving San Francisco State with a degree in journalism, three jobs and a pile of debt.