Hair contemplates value of college degrees in today’s economy

By Thomas Hair
Online Copy Editor

When I close my eyes, I still feel like a Freshman. Despite the long months of hard work I have poured into Coppell High School, it absolutely boggles my mind to think that my junior year is almost complete, that it is already time to begin making college decisions that will impact the rest of my life. As I begin to visit colleges, it seems almost surreal when I try to imagine myself there, on my own, in only another year. Nevertheless, that it is the reality for Coppell’s juniors at this stage in our high school career.

One of the most crucial and time-consuming decisions regarding the college process is what to major in, what career path to enter. In a perfect world, one could simply go to college and study whatever one’s passions are. However, today’s job market is becoming tighter and tighter by the year and a 4-year degree will no longer garauntee a job coming out of college as it did in previous decades.

As a student with eclectic interests and talents in writing and social studies, whenever I express interest in degrees such as Journalism, Advertising, Astronomy or European History I’m deterred because of the constant question: “That’s great, but how are you going to get a job?”

In this day and age, it seems that the job market is precarious at best unless one is an engineer, doctor or computer expert. The technical fields are soaring, and positions elsewhere are being cut due to the economy. Positions will always be available for those that are the very best in their field, but the sad fact remains that only 55% of young adults are employed, compared to 68% in 2000. Recent graduates with degrees in Architecture have an unemployment rate of almost 15% and majors such as English and Philosophy aren’t far behind.

This puts Coppell’s juniors and seniors in a unique situation. There is a clash between pursuing your passion and risking low pay or unemployment and the other option, forcing yourself to be an engineer or scientist and being miserable at work despite a prodigious salary. As someone who is not as strong in technical areas like math and science, this quandary has been weighing heavily on my mind as I sift through the college search process.

As a product of diligent searching, I have found that there are careers out there that converge my interests with a technical field. Degrees like Entertainment Marketing (Marketing + Music), Health Administration (Medicine + Business) and Public Relations (Writing + Business) get one into a more open (and higher paying) job market while integrating more interesting fields.

If you are struggling with process of finding a major that’s right for you or if you are worried that what you want to do may not be able to support the lifestyle you want, just remember that there are so many options out there. There ways, such as double majoring, to do what you love in college and still ensure that you have a more stable backup plan. Somewhere out there is a program that is right for you and your interests. All you have to do is look for it.