The Economic Situation is Killing Our Future!

Isabel Lake

Flip to NBC, CNN, or any of a dozen other channels at any time of day, and they will tell you how low the stocks tumbled or how high unemployment is.

Newscasters report on recession-caused bankruptcies, liquidations, layoffs, and inflation—a list that virtually has no end. It’s clear that the recession has had a detrimental effect on working adults, but how does it affect us?

Teens don’t run businesses, own stocks, or provide for a family; parents do.

Teens aren’t the ones who have to pay for medical bills, taxes, or insurance; parents are.
As teens, we only just feel the squeeze. As we grow nearer to adulthood, that squeeze will come to be tighter and tighter. This suggests that we might have a few difficult years after high school.

A part-time job, once a staple of our adolescence, is becoming harder to find. Working has always been an important experience to take into the adult world. These jobs teach responsibility, encourage independence, and improve life skills.

It is unfortunate, however, according to a CBS piece, that teen unemployment, now around 24%, has nearly doubled since 2000. Adults displaced by the economy have taking up jobs once reserved for teenagers.

Teenagers are now heading off to independent lives with less experience and considerably less money in their pockets, both of which are important as we head into adulthood.

The daunting monster of college tuition worsens this predicament. Today, a college degree from a private university can cost up to $45,000 per year, not including the cost of room and board and books.

This sum is becoming increasingly difficult for teens to pay because unemployment rises and wages fall. In order to avoid this, more students are choosing to go to public or community colleges to save money.

Public universities cost considerably less than private institutions, and community colleges are cost even less. Beyond the undergraduate years, more young adults are now attending graduate (or other higher degree) schools as a means to move up.

By the time they are done with education, most young adults will be tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

Student loans and scholarships, once a godsend to students in need, are also now harder to obtain. US News and World Report states that many universities have lost access to these loans, while others lost investments during the stock market crash.

To help cover these costs, universities are increasing tuition beyond the already inflated prices.

Another option that is becoming increasingly popular for young adults is enrolling in the ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) or federal service academies (The Military, Naval, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Merchant Marine Academies).

These will pay full college tuition in exchange for service to the nation through the armed forces. The enrollment in these programs and military-based academies has been rising in recent years as teens try to combat rising tuition fees.

To those getting ready to attend college, don’t be too worried. There are still ways to earn a degree.

First, though many merit-based scholarships are now gone, many colleges offer to pay full need-based aid. Some don’t even give out loans, but scholarships that don’t need to be paid back.

Second, as mentioned before, there are different collegiate options (community colleges, ROTC, etc.) that will lessen the financial burden.

As for the unemployment situation, consider applying for an internship instead of a paying job. These open connections and teach more specialized skills, and are a great addition to any resume or application.