Too many students going to college?

Did that headline get your attention? It sure got mine when I first read it on Tuesday in the Chronicle of Higher Education (which was brought to my attention by esteemed colleague Tony Petersen, making me a thief twice in the same column).

What a strange idea. The Chronicle might as well have been pushing too much world peace or too few people watching dirty movies. Imagine the counterpart to the walkout’s cries for fee cuts: “Hike ‘em up! Charge us more! Get these losers out the door!”

Despite the counterintuitive sound of the idea, it stems from a simple premise. There are only so many skilled jobs out there that require degrees, and college becomes a waste mathematically when the lost wages and long-term-debt incurred become a greater number than the dollars accrued as a result of the degree.

The corollary is horrifically depressing: sorry guys, but the world still runs on delivery men, trash guys and waiters. And many of you will spend your lives working jobs you are academically overqualified for in spite of your realized ambitions.

Happy Friday the Thirteenth.

President Obama has even said as much, albeit in a roundabout way. He is currently pushing more money for community colleges and trade schools, the places where you learn a skill and get out rather than spending countless hours listening to loony general education professors and picking up bad habits from your peers.

Ensconced with the idea, I called up a buddy who goes to Georgia Tech for a quick poll: “Hey man, I just read that there are too many people with college degrees saturating the market, would you be willing to drop out of college to help?”

“Yea, that would be the nice thing to do, but I’m a [meanie]. Get somebody else to drop out.”

Crap. Also, he said this from his couch as he was playing some sort of zombie drinking game with three of his roommates. On a Tuesday afternoon.

Which brings me to a point even the Chronicle fails to mention. For the people who move away for school and come of age in some distant college town where everyone is young and single and everyone has money but no one works, the end of college can really feel like The End.

I, along with many of my buddies who went to good ol’ Georgia Southern University with me, am experiencing this right now. I received a text message from another recent graduate last week that read, “I should’ve never gone to college. Everything after college is a reminder of how awesome college is.”

Wow. So what does it all mean?

First off, forget the notion that the slip of paper you’re working for will get you anything. Your career may very well come down to the old adage of “who you know.” You need to network. Hard. Make contacts wherever you can and find a way to the back door of your dream job.

Secondly, for the commuters who may feel they’re missing out because they live at home and work part time, stop feeling that way. The term for your college experience is “realistic.”

Me, I’m staying positive. Maybe I’ll end up a trash man, but I’ll write the best damn trash blog around!

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