You are currently viewing As students graduate in the pandemic, is college becoming useless?

As students graduate in the pandemic, is college becoming useless?

College is a socially accepted time of hedonism, exploration, and growth. But in a pandemic, the things we take for granted as part of the college experience – freshmen, parties, adventure, sexual experimentation – have all been threatened (research even shows that Covid has forced students into celibacy ).

Much has been written about the duff deal students in a pandemic have received, but less has been said about the fate facing those who have graduated in this strange new world.

Prospects are not booming for 2019, 2020 and 2021 graduates. Despite employment levels at an all-time high, wages and salary increases have not kept up with the cost of living. Any job that promises much-needed perks like remote and flexible working, decent pay, and a healthy work culture faces fierce competition.

And such gigs are often hard to come by for those looking for entry-level jobs.

In fact, the pandemic has affected this cohort in a unique way. Research shows that the impacts of the pandemic on employment have been concentrated on young people, with 70% of job losses between March 2020 and May 2021 occurring among workers under the age of 25.

So what are graduates with little or no experience supposed to do? Many end up on Universal Credit (UC), doing low-paying or unpaid internships, or looking for zero-hours contract work.

And that leaves them with a fundamental question: what was the point of college?

Many graduates are now saddled with thousands of pounds in debt, a degree that has not been useful in the job market and competing with the 2020 cohort, for whom graduate programs have been suspended.

Caitlin Yeung is one of those people who struggled after graduation. The 24-year-old from Liverpool, a Roehampton University graduate, can’t afford the cost of living in London and has moved back to Liverpool to live with her mother while looking for work.

Due to the rising cost of living and congested job market, Caitlin couldn’t find a graduate job and ended up on Universal Credit, worried about her future.

“I entered the ‘adult world’ naively thinking that I would be able to instantly find my first job and in doing so be able to afford the exorbitant prices in London,” she says.

“Being Gen Z certainly isn’t easy and the rising cost of living combined with the pandemic has not only made it harder for me to save for my first home, driving lessons and luxuries like vacations. , but it can also have a detrimental effect on mental and physical well-being, especially when I see the difficulty that 90% of the country has in saving and paying the bills and it makes me think, will things ever get better easy?

“Losing all faith and hope, I visited my local job center, signed up with Universal Credit.”

Although Caitlin found it hard to be on UC, she soon joined the government’s Kickstarter program, which matches 16- to 24-year-olds on UC with employers for six-month contracts.

She laments how difficult the years have been since college, but does not regret the experience.

“The whole process of graduating, signing on Universal Credit and then becoming a Kickstarter didn’t necessarily make me regret studying in London, because the transferable skills, friends and experiences I gained during those three years will stay with me for a lifetime,” she says.

“In fact, I believe going through what I did before, during, and after college made me a lot more outgoing, thick, and confident.”

After her six months as a marketing assistant under the government scheme, Caitlin is now in a full-time paid position.

Caitlin had to go home after graduation

Meanwhile, Georgia, a 24-year-old journalist from Brixton, London, wonders how much college has helped her. She also ended up on UC.

“After college, I managed to get an internship but it was unpaid, of course, and then I made $18,000 to be an editorial assistant at a wellness magazine,” says Georgia, who chose not to share his last name.

“Then once the pandemic hit, the publication went into liquidation and I ended up on Universal Credit. I was being advertised for jobs like ‘manager at Five Guys’ and told I had to go. if I wanted to stay on UC.

Georgia says the pandemic set back graduates like her, who had just settled into their early roles.

“I just stepped in the door of journalism, but as soon as the pandemic hit, me and a lot of my peers were the first to go. And then I had to start all over again,” she says.

“The pandemic has basically put everyone between the ages of 18 and 24 in the same group, regardless of education or interests – which is just not a good way to support either group. “

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