“The Great Recession” scary time for college graduates


My student commute requires me to sit in my car a little over an hour, each way, as I drive to and from Sioux Falls. It is not a bad drive, really. I love my car, which sounds ridiculous to me.

My commute gives me the rare chance of reflection, my alone time, to think and plan my day. It gives me a chance to catch up on the music and books that my school/work/family schedule does not allow me to partake in. I also listen to the news, mostly National Public Radio because my choices are limited. Most of the recent reports are about the revolution in Libya or the upcoming presidential election. But the real news trend seems to be the economy.

I believe that the economy dictates the standards of a society. We already know it dictates our standard of living, but it also sets our social standards. In thriving times, the finer things stand out: art, music and the like. As the economy goes down, crime seems to go up, along with an emerging class seperation: The haves and have-nots. And this is happening now. Crime, theft and break-ins are the by-product of a floundering economy. “The Great Recession,” as it is called now, is upon us and discussions revolve.

What is a great recession and whatever does this mean for me?

I think about this during my drive sometimes. How does this recession affect me? I am pretty carefree, for the most part. I seem to have opportunities. I am a non-traditional student coming back to school after a ten-year break and am motivated to get my degree as quickly as possible. In fact, this college experience takes kind of a backseat because my goals require all of my time. So, I am left pondering the future. Will the career path that I have chosen actually pay off? Will my time attending and graduating a secondary institution allow me to live the life I want? And more importantly, will I be able to do the things I am going to school for?

I listened to a report the other day that highlighted college graduates. The report stated that one of the highest demographic in defaults for loans are college graduates, and non-graduates, who cannot pay their student loans. I have had a student loan bill for over ten years now and never knew that there was even an option to default, but evidentially there is. So I think about this and wonder, “What the hell is driving so many recent graduates to default on their loans?”

Is it the job market? Possibly.

Is it the economy as a whole? Probably.

Is it the overall, manic-depressive environment that Americans seem to live in? Could be.

The reality is this potentially crippling situation contains a multitude of probabilities and they are not good. We now see riots and demonstrations almost everyday in parts of the Eurozone, which at one point was a model of progression. Their economy is now an utter disaster.

I wonder when will it sink in to us that very soon this may happen here.

In fact, the way the trends are moving; it may already be happening. Most of the economic pains result in the staggeringly high levels of unemployment of the youth. This August in the United Kingdom, riots literally crippled the nation. It was menacingly unpredictable and admonished by many leaders within their nation. Some said thugs and opportunists caused the riots. Others said it was “bad parenting” to those reckless youth who were looting, burning and destroying.

Reckless youth. I think that is a great term, just not in this context. But why are they reckless?

One can only guess, but out of these ashes, the pain and frustration of this gray and dark future smolders in the thoughts and minds of those young men and women. What will happen in this near future depends on the will of those in charge, those captains of industry guiding this global economic Hindenberg. What will become of us then, we the hard-working youth aspiring to greatness both economically and socially? With one affecting the other, we remain flexible, yet vigilant. Otherwise we risk drowning in a sea of despair.