What they really don’t tell you at graduation

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Alexandra Petri
Washington Post

May 4, 2012

A piece at the Wall Street Journal has been making waves recently by billing itself as “What They Don’t Tell You At Graduation.”

The one trouble with this piece is that all the observations seemed vaguely familiar — from graduation speeches.

Here’s what they really don’t tell you.

1) Next year, you will probably be unemployed, or live in your parents’ basement, or be unemployed and live in your parents’ basement. This is not cruel. It is factual. Fifty percent of new graduates are either unemployed or underemployed. And 29 percent of 25-to-34 year-olds live in what the poll-taker was kind enough to refer to as “multi-generational living arrangements” rather than “your mother’s basement” or “your old room with all the anime posters and Admiral Ackbar figures carelessly splayed on every surface.” You will probably have the urge to respond to this by going to graduate school. Why not? Your only areas of expertise so far are “lacking marketable skills” and “having lots of debt,” so this is a logical next step. Later, when your six friends who did manage to find jobs after college wind up getting booted from the workforce, they will be unable to compete ever again because everyone around them will have six PhDs, at least one of them in a useful field that does not include “Medieval” in its name.

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This article was posted: Friday, May 4, 2012 at 11:01 am

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